SPORTS: Lenient JV and varsity rules allow sports teams to be more competitive

Like most high schools, Santa Clara offers a junior varsity and varsity team for the majority of its sports. Restrictions seperate the two teams for safety and sportsmanship reasons. However, certain players and coaches believe these rules are too strict to apply at SCHS due to the low participation in select sports programs.

Occasionally, SCHS sports regulations can have negative effects on athletes. Junior Aasees Sandhu, a member of the water polo team, shared that being a first year player on varsity came with many challenges.

“We didn’t have a JV girls (team), and it sucked because I didn’t really know the sport yet,” Sandhu said. “I was just learning on-the-spot but also learning with varsity, so everyone also knows what they’re doing. You get beat around, and it’s really hard.”

Updated Santa Clara Valley Athletic League rules state that a senior female is prohibited from playing on JV. The rules for the boys team, however, are stricter by limiting juniors from playing on JV. When asked whether both teams should be split based on skill, Sandhu said that it is very necessary.

“For boys, too, I think freshman through juniors should be based on skill because otherwise, it makes the season not as fun, and it makes your team frustrated because you’re holding everyone back,” Sandhu said.

Nonetheless, these rules do not apply to all sports. SCVAL has by-laws for all sports with some being more lenient than others. For example, sports such as softball have more compliant regulations. Softball head coach Julie Kawamoto mentioned moving players around is sometimes necessary.

“Last year, we had to get rid of our JV team. We started off with the JV team, but because of grades and injuries, we had to combine programs,” Kawamoto said. “The year before because of COVID, we didn’t have a JV team.”

Kawamoto pointed out that practicing on different levels creates benefits not only for the program but for the players as well, with the example of a 12th string player on varsity.

“If we’re looking out for the benefit of the kids, it would definitely help that number 12 player to get some playing time on the lower end,” Kawamoto said. “At the same time, they get better practice on varsity even though they don’t get a lot of playing time. I leave it up to the kids to decide if they think this spot would be better for them or not.”

Kawamoto commented that in previous years, only a select few girls have played travel softball outside of school. With an increased number of athletes participating in these programs in recent years, Kawamoto is looking forward to this season.

“We’re excited about this year and with the girls coming in, we’re definitely going to be more competitive,” Kawamoto said.