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Athletics Handbook

General Policies

Students are not to drive to games without prior approval of Athletic Director and Head of School. Students may only leave a game with their parents and should plan to stay until the team leaves. Written permission is needed to leave an away game with someone else’s parents.
Students who are unable to participate in physical education may not participate in practice or a game without prior approval of the Athletic Director.
Students are expected to attend every scheduled practice. If they miss practice, it will affect their participation in games.
Student-athletes on teams below the Upper School Junior Varsity should expect to participate in games if they are attending practice. All players may not receive equal playing time. Depending on the particular sport and its rules, varsity players may or may not have the chance to play at a lower level if they do not play in the varsity game.

  • All student-athletes must be in school by 9:00 AM in order to compete in athletic contests that day.
  • Germantown Academy is a tobacco free campus. We appreciate your cooperation.
  • Coaches, players, parents and friends of individual teams may not hold fundraisers or solicit money without prior approval of the Athletic Director, Director of Institutional Advancement and Head of School.
  • Cars are not permitted across the bridge without the Athletic Director’s permission.
  • Changing sports – If a player desires to change sports during the season, they must submit a request in writing with their parent’s signature to the Athletic Director. Both coaches and the Athletic Director must agree to the change.

MIDDLE SCHOOL – The sports program is explained in the Middle School Handbook.

In keeping with the Inter-Academic Athletic League rules, all teams are grouped by ability. The actual number of teams varies each season depending upon the numbers of students who wish to participate in the sport of their choice. Each sport has set a minimum number of students necessary to warrant an additional team. The Middle School Sports program is participation based. All Coaches are instructed to give each athlete as much playing time as possible, providing that the student-athlete has met all team membership requirements.

UPPER SCHOOL – Upper School sports are offered at various levels on a sport by sport basis. Some sports only have a varsity level while others may offer three teams in the Upper School. This is determined by the program, space available, staff available, and student interest. Upper School policies regarding participation are in the Upper School Student Handbook.

RELIGIOUS HOLIDAYS – Games are not scheduled on the first day of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Good Friday, and Christmas. Students are always excused from school, games, or practice for religious commitments.

SPORTS INJURIES - Germantown Academy has a fully certified trainer on staff. The trainer will also serve as a resource for the complete treatment and rehabilitation of sports injuries. All Coaches will be certified in CPR.

Injuries occurring at home games will be handled by the trainer and/or coach. A communications system using walkie talkies and a portable phone will allow the trainer to be notified immediately in case of a serious injury. Injuries at away games will be handled by the staff of the opposing school. If a serious injury occurs, parents will be notified as soon as possible.


Many students would like to pursue their athletic interests in college. Varsity coaches, the Athletic Director and/or the College Guidance counselors can provide information and advice in this area. Athletes who are interested in scholarships or financial aid for sports should speak with their coaches about the various college programs, the recruiting process and their chance for success. The NCAA publishes a pamphlet called “Guide for the College Bound Student Athlete” which will be available through the Athletic and College Guidance offices. In addition, all seniors will receive the NCAA Clearinghouse Pamphlet and Release Form at the beginning of the school year.


Athletes who are serious about a college sport at any level should attend camps in the summer. Camps are an ideal way to visit college campuses and to meet coaches. Germantown Academy runs camps for several sports and parents can receive information on these camps from the Director of Summer Programs. Varsity coaches should be able to recommend camps to their players.


Germantown Academy is a member of the Pennsylvania Independent School Athletic Association (PAISAA) and is eligible to participate in their state tournaments.

Upper School Uniforms

Germantown Academy is committed to providing all Upper School athletic teams with “uniforms” which display the school’s name, the Patriots' name, or GA athletic logo, display the school’s colors, reflect recent fashion trends and foster a sense of school pride. The term “uniform” refers to clothing worn during athletic competitions. A uniform may include pants, shorts, skirts, jerseys, shirts, hats, socks and belts.

Coaches and players may suggest the design for the uniforms. The school’s athletic budget allows for Germantown Academy to purchase new uniforms every four years.

In the past, parents, families, friends, alumni and players have donated money or assisted in fundraising events to help purchase uniforms or warm-ups. This practice, however, is strictly prohibited and no longer permissible. Outfitting and purchasing of uniforms and warm-ups for the Upper School teams is solely the responsibility of the school.

Individuals and companies, who desire to assist the Athletic Department in funding the purchase of the uniforms or warm-ups, should contact the Athletic Department prior to taking any action in order to determine what athletic clothing is anticipated to be purchased in the upcoming year. The Athletic Department may accept donations as a form of budget relief, but at all times the Athletic Department has sole control over all issues relating to uniforms or warm-ups to be purchases by Germantown Academy.

Every year the Germantown Academy Office of Institutional Advancement raises money for the Annual Fund to assist the school in accomplishing its spending needs, including those arising from the athletic program. Therefore, Germantown Academy strongly encourages donations to the Annual Fund.

Student-athletes may purchase “team apparel” such as athletic bags, jackets, sweat shirts, t-shirts, championship commemorative clothing and other athletic wear that is not typically worn during the game or during warm-up time. The coaches or team captains that wish to order team apparel must obtain prior approval of the Athletic Director. However, individuals may not donate “team apparel” or sell “team apparel” as part of an individual team fundraising effort.

All questions relating to the Upper School Athletic Uniform Policy should be directed to the Athletic Director.


School Policy - Intimidation, Harassment and Hazing Policy

Harassment in any form will not be tolerated. If a student feels harassed by another member of the community, he or she should bring the concern directly to the school. Likewise, intimidation, the deliberate attempt to isolate others by making them feel rejected by their peers, will not be tolerated. Whether direct or indirect, blatant or subtle, verbal or physical, any behavior that stigmatizes, victimizes, targets, or interferes with another member of the school community for any reason, including race, sex, religion, ethnic origin, physical attribute, or sexual orientation, is expressly forbidden. The response will be determined after a thorough investigation of the case, but may include detentions, suspension, probation or expulsion. Additionally, the response may involve a recommendation for counseling and/or other restorative steps.

Examples of intimidation and harassment include, but are not limited to:

  • electronic communication involving physical threats and/or malicious gossip and slander;
  • hit lists or polls naming specific students and/or teachers;
  • stealing passwords and misrepresenting oneself;
  • changing others’ personal profiles;
  • making sexual advances;
  • visual conduct; e.g., leering, making sexual gestures, displaying sexually suggestive objects or pictures, cartoons, or posters;
  • taking and/or distributing inappropriate, humiliating, or explicit photos, images, or content of oneself or others;
  • verbal conduct; e.g., making derogatory comments, epithets, slurs, jokes, verbal sexual propositions, verbal abuse of a sexual nature, graphic verbal commentary about an individual's body, sexually degrading words used to describe an individual, suggestive or obscene language, letters, notes or invitations, malicious gossip and rumor spreading;
  • physical conduct; e.g., assault, touching, impeding, or blocking one's movement.

Hazing refers to any situation or action which endangers or has the potential to endanger the mental or physical health or safety of a person or which willfully destroys or removes public or private property for the purposes of becoming, remaining, or participating in any group. The fact that the person consented to participate in the activity is no defense. Any situation or activity that, for the purposes becoming, remaining, or participating in any group, produces or could be expected to produce mental, emotional or physical discomfort, fright, degradation, moral compromise, humiliation, embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule to the student is hazing. A person violates this policy whenever he or she engages, assists, or attempts to engage or assist in the planning or committing of any hazing activity, whether on or off campus or other School property. All members of our School community, including, students, faculty, and staff, are responsible for immediately reporting any hazing activity or plans for any hazing activity to the appropriate faculty member, Division Head, Athletic Director, or the Head of School. The failure to make such a report is also a violation of this policy. Any athletic team/sport, club, association, organization, or other group who authorizes hazing may be sanctioned by the School. Such sanctions include, without limitation, fines, suspension of operation, loss of use of School facilities, loss of funding, and withdrawal of permission to operate. No adverse action will be taken against any person who makes a good faith report of hazing activity.

Hazing activities include, but are not limited to:

  • any brutality of a physical nature, such as whipping, paddling, kicking, striking, beating, branding, writing or marking on a person’s skin or clothes, forced calisthenics, exposure to the elements or other physical abuse;
  • acts of personal servitude (i.e., forced labor or service);
  • sleep deprivation;
  • forced exclusion from social or verbal contact;
  • kidnapping or strandings;
  • restrictions on personal hygiene;
  • yelling, swearing, insulting or demeaning verbal abuse;
  • being forced to wear embarrassing or humiliating attire;
  • consumption of any food, drug, vile or other non-food substances, or alcohol;
  • smearing of skin with vile substances;
  • performing sexual simulation or sexual acts;
  • stunts or dares, whether public or private, that could result in physical injury or harm to a person’s mental, emotional or social well-being;
  • activities causing physical or mental fatigue;
  • physical or psychological shock;
  • placing any person in a situation of actual or simulated peril or jeopardy;
  • any theft/destruction/damage of public or private property; or
  • any act in violation of the law or School policy, and any other activity that could fall within the definition of hazing.

When the School administration becomes aware of any instance of intimidation, harassment or hazing, the situation will be promptly investigated. Any person found to have violated this policy will be subject to disciplinary action, including termination of employment or expulsion from the School, as applicable, for serious violations. Persons violating this policy may also be subject to civil liability or criminal liability under Pennsylvania law.

Complaint Procedures
Students are expected to assist the school in preventing these types of behaviors by promptly reporting any instance of alleged or potential harassment, intimidation, hazing, or fighting.

All complaints will be investigated thoroughly by Germantown Academy. Complaints will be processed in a manner which protects the complainant and maintains the individual's confidentiality, to the greatest extent possible.

Sports Awards

Varsity athletes receive the following recognition:

1. Each year they will receive a certificate.

2. First year – a chenille letter (one per athlete).

3. Second year – an insert for each sport.

4. Third year – a three year pin.

5. Fourth year or beyond – a pen set, awarded in senior year.

The following awards are given at Prize Day at the end of each school year:

Phyllis Morrison Biddle Award – presented to seniors who have participated in a sport each season for the four years of upper school.

Blazer Pin Award – presented to a girl or girls in the fifth form who demonstrate the combined qualities of leadership, determination, and capability on the athletic field, in the classroom, and through participation in extracurricular activities.

Girls Athletic Association Bowl – presented to a senior girl for sportsmanship and athletic ability.

Bernard Dallas Award – presented to a senior boy who has contributed the most to the athletic program – leadership, athletic ability and sportsmanship.

James R. Buckley Award – presented to a senior boy and/or girl for sportsmanship and significant contributions to the athletic program.

Transition from Club to Varsity Sport


  • Club - an activity supported by the school. A club may or may not have financial support from the activities budget of the upper school. Clubs have no ties with the athletic department.
  • Trial Sport- a sport that is supported by the athletic department but does not have varsity status
  • Varsity Sport- a sport that is supported by the athletic department including varsity letters and certificates


  1. Club to Trial Sport- the following criteria will be assessed in deciding to move from club to trial:
  2. Sport must have the potential to become a varsity sport
  3. Regularly scheduled competition must be available
  4. The IAAL or Independent League (ice hockey) supports this sport
  5. Sufficient interest in terms of participation- numbers must be large enough to support a team and substitutes
  6. Financially feasible
  7. Appropriate facilities are available
  8. Assessment of the strain on the student population- only so many sports can exist in a given season without running out of students or drawing from other established sport programs.

Trial Sport to Varsity Sport - a sport will remain in the trial phase until the following criteria have been met:

  1. A minimum of three years in the trial phase to asses the progress of the program- this period could be longer
  2. Ability level of the participants is commensurate with a varsity level program
  3. An appropriate schedule of games has been established at the varsity level

League Competition

The Inter-Academic Athletic League is the oldest secondary school athletic league in the nation. As members of the Inter-Academic League we have inherited a wonderful tradition which we wish to perpetuate through the possibilities of true collaboration in the competitive arena of athletics.

The Inter-Academic Athletic League is comprised of the following members: Academy of Notre Dame, The Agnes Irwin School, The Baldwin School, Episcopal Academy, Germantown Academy, The Haverford School, Malvern Preparatory School, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, and the William Penn Charter School.

The Inter-Academic League believes in the transformational and educational potential of student participation in athletics. We provide student athletes with opportunities to participate and compete at multiple skill levels, and we are committed that those athletic opportunities involve learning new skills, developing individual goals and potential, and fostering an appreciation of collaboration and teamwork in the competitive arena of athletics. Our Athletes are students first. Our coaches and our programs are extensions of our classrooms, and they teach the values that guide our unique and independent institutions. We recognize the need to keep interscholastic competition in harmony with the essential educational purposes of the institutions. Our purpose goes far beyond transactional win-loss records and individual coaches’ reputations to an earnest commitment to educating the whole student athlete.

Participation: The Inter-Academic league believes that structured student participation in competitive athletics enhances the overall educational mission of its member schools. Although the League refrains from dictating participation requirements to independent school members, it encourages the widest possible availability for all students of all ability levels to participate in organized athletic programs.

Competition: The Inter-Academic League puts the well-being of its student athletes first and strives to develop programs that encourage boys and girls to develop camaraderie, practice habits of mind and body that encourage healthy living, and learn valuable life lessons. Every Inter-Academic school strives for excellence in all athletic programs; however, we recognize that an excessive emphasis on winning can corrupt true learning and academic values. Its members believe that both victory and defeat teach valuable lessons.

Character Development: Students in the Inter-Academic League are students first and athletes second. We hope that athletic competition fosters respect for others, competition and teamwork, perseverance, and leadership. The priority of the League is to develop educated young men and women of character who are transformed by their experiences in athletic competition and then transfer lessons they have learned on the athletic fields to lives of service to others.

Germantown Academy also competes in the Pennsylvania Independent School Athletic Association (PAISAA).

The PAISAA is the recognized entity for the support of interscholastic athletic programs for independent schools in the state of Pennsylvania. PAISAA offers professional development opportunities for membership, preserves and enhances existing state events, and works to create additional state events through the development of coaches' associations for each sport. The association is committed to the foundation pillars of interscholastic athletics-integrity, sportsmanship, participation, and leadership.

PAISAA is recognized by the PIAA and is an affiliate member of the National Federation of High Schools. READ MORE about the PAISAA.