By Jayden Racca

The idea of repeating a grade in school is something that would typically make most students’ stomachs turn. However, youth athletes and their families have recently been seen salivating for the chance to gain a leg up on their competition through this idea of “reclassing.”

Sima Bernstein claims in her parents.com article that reclassifying is “the process of opting to hold a child back a year in high school or middle school, so they’ll have an edge athletically by being taller, larger, or more skilled than their peer group.” With this extra year of competition, it is the hope that the athlete will look more attractive to colleges when it comes to scholarships or playing opportunities.

Former athlete and avid sports fan Matthew Langdon believes that reclassing allows athletes to keep working on and perfecting their craft. He said, “It gives late bloomers a fair chance to earn opportunities to play at the college level that they might not get without reclassifying. Academically, it helps them find out how they learn best, the best ways to study and how to manage time, all things that will help them when they move on to the college level.”

Achieving the ultimate goal of participating in a division one collegiate sport is not an easy task. According to the NCAA, no division one sport has above a 4.8% chance for collegiate participation among both women and men, besides ice hockey at 7.8%. Nytalya Frye, a college student who does not follow sports, does not think reclassing is optimal. She asked, “Is it really worth wasting a year of your life to try and play division one? The chances of actually making it are slim, and going professional is even slimmer.”  

In many situations, parents are seen as the ones pushing the act of reclassing on their children. Mother of three Lori Racca claims, “I don’t agree with reclassing early in high school or at a young age. I feel like if your child is talented enough to be in a sport, then they should do it with the kids their age. It gives them an inappropriate leg up.”