Is The Cut Policy Panning out as Planned?

After nearly forty years, Clayton’s unique “No-cut policy,” which increased CHS sports’ inclusiveness and opportunities for new and aspiring athletes, was replaced by a more traditional sports participation policy.

The former policy was put in place to allow any student meeting the required academic standards to play any sport they desired. This resulted in high levels of participation across a variety of sports. The new policy requires tryouts for sports with limited roster spots, either due to space or staffing limitations. An aim of the policy was for athletes who were cut from popular sports to try others, possibly filling roster spots in sports needing additional players. Steve Hutson, CHS’ Athletic Director, says, “That was a big part of the reason… We can take some of the programs that have lesser enrollment and hopefully grow them.”

Riley Kerley, a Junior at CHS who was cut from volleyball, is an example of an athlete who filled a much-needed role in another sport, cross country. Kerley not only filled this role but said she felt, “not necessarily needed but wanted.” Hutson views the policy as being successful thus far. Hutson says, “I was really proud of the fact that most all of our athletes that were cut reached out, themselves, to the coach and said, ‘what do I need to do better to make the team?’” Huston sees this as self-advocacy and communication.

Increases in school spirit, competitiveness, and commitment to athletics are hoped to be the results of this new policy. Hutson notes that the cut process will likely stay in place throughout the winter and spring seasons of Clayton Sports. He says, “We did a lot of work and research… We’ve learned a little bit so we’ll be able to make it a little better, but I think it’s going to look a lot of the same for the winter.” According to Hutson, the actual process of determining which athletes would make the team looked very different depending on the sport. “Soccer and volleyball were able to have individual meetings with the players.” These smaller sports were handled with close attention to each athlete. 

However, for more popular sports like tennis, “we created three different emails. One of which communicated with those who didn’t make a roster spot. We didn’t include names, and kept it really professional,” said Hutson. Brendan Taylor, the Clayton soccer coach, explained that he doesn’t, “like to think of it in terms like I have a limited amount of spots to give out.” It’s more about, “who’s going to be a good fit for what we’re trying to do,” he says. Of course, with any kind of cut policy, there will be disappointment from players, and the parents of players, who were cut. Following some athlete and parent complaints, Taylor commented that “I get it, it’s not easy and it hurts. I get that pain. It’s not something that I take lightly.”

This is only the beginning of a year full of change in athletics. More will be known later in the season and hard numbers may prove the heavy impact of this policy switch. Hutson agreed, “let’s reconnect. There’s going to be more coming out of this.”