Athletic Placement Process (APP)

Athletic Placement Process-APP Is a program for evaluating students who want to participate in sports at higher or lower levels, as approved by the Board of Regents as a part of the school eligibility rules in 1980, and is aligned with Learning Standards 1 and 2. Commissioner’s Regulation Section 135.4(c)(7)(ii)(a)(4).

New York State Athletic Placement Process for Interschool Athletic Programs (NYS APP)Updates include adjustment of Tanner scores in Appendix H, reference citations for medical directors and additional clarification in step 4 regarding recommended vs. required Tanner scores. Updated December 2017 

NYSED FAQ Link to the NYSED Athletic Placement Process for Interschool Athletic Programs (APP) – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) released April 2015.

Athletic Placement Process Information Summary for School Nurses (1/17)

Height and Weight Chart & Classification of Sports According to Contact (7/16)

Athletic Placement Process for Interschool Athletic Programs (APP) – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) (2015)


Who must follow APP Guidelines?

Private schools and charter schools participating in interschool athletics with public schools (e.g., New York State Public High School Athletic Association, NYSPHAA; or Public School Athletic League, PSAL) should comply with the APP as a condition of participation.

Are districts required to implement APP?

No, Pursuant to Commissioner’s Regulation § 135.4(c)(7)(ii)(a), a school district may choose to permit students to compete at a level of competition deemed appropriate to their physiological maturity, physical fitness, and skill level in relationship to other students at the desired level of competition. If however,  a district chooses to adopt such a process, the district medical director, director of physical education/athletics and ultimately the Board of Education are responsible for implementing the APP consistent with these standards. A student, teacher, coach, or parent/guardian may ask the Physical Education Director and/or Athletic Director to evaluate the student for the APP. However, students will not undergo the evaluation procedures without both a request from the physical education director and/or athletic director and written permission from the parent/guardian.

Physical Fitness Standards

The President’s Physical Fitness Test is the physical fitness standard used in the APP. Click here to see the benchmarks. To meet the APP physical fitness standards the student must meet the 85th percentile level of the national norm for their age in 4 out of 5 test components (see Appendix E, I, and J in the APP document). For students trying out for swimming, students may choose either the 1 mile walk/run or the 500 yard swim. (See Appendix J). Please note: Students who try out for bowling or golf teams are exempt from completing the physical fitness testing components.

Information regarding Tanner Staging:

Tanner staging is required, but meeting the exact stage indicated by the numbers in the Tanner scores on (chart H found in the APP document) are recommended.  The decision is in the medical directors hands, it states “comparable” size and physical maturity recommended.  It does not say “exact” same size and maturity.

The recommended Tanner scores are based on the average Tanner score of the average aged male or female that typically competes at those levels. Tanner scores are higher for females compared to males at the same levels, which more accurately reflects the earlier ages that females achieve physical maturity. The medical director is instructed to take into consideration the height, weight, muscle mass, and Tanner rating as compared to the other athletes he/she would compete with. This allows for a physician to use their professional judgment taking into account the totality of the student’s overall physical development when determining whether or not the student is of a comparable or similar level of physical maturity in relation to those they wish to compete with. The Selection Classification Process was created to lessen, but not eliminate, the chances of injury for a younger student competing with older students who tend to be larger and more physically mature. This change is based on recommendations from multiple physicians and medical professionals.

Is Tanner staging required to sign off students for  all sports?

No, Tanner staging is only necessary for students who wish to participate in the APP. The Tanner Scores for APP are recommended scores and not required. These recommendations were made by a Committee of individuals, including professionals from the Office of Student Support Services and the Department of Health, and a physician consultant.

If Tanner staging is only recommended then we do not have to consider it?

The APP states, “The medical director should take into consideration the height, weight, muscle mass and Tanner rating as compared to the other athletes he/she would compete with. For physical development and maturity, Tanner staging remains the least invasive tool to gauge a person’s sexual maturity rating as an indicator of physical maturation. Best practice, therefore, would dictate that the medical director use the Tanner Rating Scale and compare the developmental level of the student to the average Tanner level of students playing the sport at the desired level. The medical director may conduct the Tanner Rating examination him/herself with the prior informed consent of the parent/guardian and of the student.” If the student is determined to have attained the appropriate physical maturity level and comparable physical size for the desired sport and level (see Appendix C and H), the student may proceed with the APP process.

NYS says a girl can be considered Tanner 5 if she has menses.  However, most girls get their first menses at Tanner 3 and progress to Tanner 5 over the next 2 years.  Should we then say Tanner 5 even though she could be Tanner 3?

Page 12 of the APP states: “Additionally, for girls giving a history of having gone through menarche, assigning a Tanner rating of five without a physical examination may also be done at the professional judgment and discretion of the medical director, if the history given is consistent with observation of body appearance while clothed. Since a Tanner Rating requires an intimate examination, it is essential that school districts create a sound protocol with simple and clear information for parents/guardians and students to understand what is required during an examination and whether private medical provider assessments, or a student or parent/guardian reported history of menarche are acceptable.”

Can you summarize the Medical Director's role regarding assessment of maturity?

The medical director takes the information gathered from the physical, student’s physical sie, and tanner rating to render a decision on whether in their or not in their professional opinion the student is at an appropriate developmental level to compete with other athletes in the desired sport and level of competition.  This does not mean that the student must be at the exact same tanner level as the competing athletes, which was required in the old document. 

Updated 7/31/18