AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) basketball is typically thought of as a fine way for young players to get extra practices and exposure to the sport in the hopes of improving their game. However, the wording of some rules, combined with the willingness of some coaches to exploit it, has angered some parents involved in AAU.
The wording of the rules, from the 2017 AAU boys’ basketball handbook, reads as follows: “An athlete can be no older than 15 on August 31, 2017. Grade Exception: An athlete who is in the 9th grade as of October 1, 2016 and who is no older than 16 on August 31, 2017 is eligible to play in the 15U/9th grade division.”
The same reads true for the 16U/10th Grade Division, the 17U/11th Grade Division and the 19U/12th Grade Division. What has parents upset about this is the fact that their child may be competing with athletes who may be a year or more older, possibly to the detriment of playing time or scholarship opportunities.
Supporters of Fair AAU Youth Basketball Eligibility Age Rules, a Facebook group whose members feel this way, has many posts that show the members’ opposition to this wording of the rules.
“The elite team becomes the ‘age old’ team that really is not elite when they play kids their own age,” one post reads. “The loser is the ‘age appropriate,’ non-holdback, ‘legit’ player.
“As long as kids are allowed to graduate from high school at a certain older age (using 19/20 as an example) and still be considered for the same scholarships as a 17 or 18-year-old graduate, parents will continue to position their kids to graduate later (on time at 18 or later at 19/20) to gain scholarship opportunities (considering the rising cost of college),” another says. “This applies to basketball, other sports, academics, music and any other area where the benefit of an added year of practice, work and maturity provides an advantage.”
While one member of the group acknowledges that having older players in a younger league makes good business sense for parents, they still feel it does not make the practice the right choice.
The members of the group have a reasonable argument here: They feel their children should not have to compete with older, more mature athletes because of the wording of the rules.
However, the opposing side could also have their own compelling argument. While this isn’t always the case, there still are some parents who hold their children back due to a lack of maturity, without any sports glory in mind.
Whatever one’s feelings on the topic may be, the wording of the rules is a contentious subject. Any who would like to have their voices heard are encouraged to contact their AAU district sports director for more feedback. If you want to see the leading program in spreading fair play when it comes to AAU basketball then click here: STACK AAU Basketball Teams
To make sure your son or daughter is eligible for your sports and playing in the proper division for his/her team you should get a verified sports id by click here: Get a Verified Sports ID