Pitt Co. 6th graders in sports given the green light

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Sixth-graders will soon be eligible to play sports in Pitt County Schools.

The School Board made the decision Monday night.

“It helps their children to stay healthy,” said Caroline Doherty, Pitt County School Board chairwoman. “It gives them something positive to do in the afternoon. It also motivates them to keep their grades up and to study.”

Doherty said it will help fill teams.

“Pitt County does actually have schools who are too small and have had to combine with other schools for years,” Doherty said.

Of 550 parents surveyed, 80 percent said they support letting sixth graders play on their school athletic teams.

Not everyone agrees though, including board member Benjie Forrest, the only board member who voted against it.

“You would have sixth-graders, and they’re more immature physically competing with 8th graders who are basically more mature physically,” said Forrest.

9OYS asked E.B. Aycock athletic director Chris Gaddy if he thinks that will be an issue.

“A lot of these kids probably will be cut due to the physical stature of their body,” said Gaddy.

He said it’s different for girls and for each sport.

“When you get into basketball, there are some sixth-grade girls who are physically mature because girls hit puberty earlier in life, and they’re bigger than the guys already when they come into sixth grade,” said Gaddy. “But when you look at guys playing basketball and swinging a baseball bat in baseball, it’s a little bit harder.”

It applies to all sports except football.

Check with your local school district to see its plans for next year.

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