ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Eighth graders competing in high school sports aren’t new to New Mexico. What is, however, is the fact that eighth graders will now be able to do it at Albuquerque Public Schools.

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APS Athletics announced in a tweet that eighth-graders will be allowed to participate beginning in the 2022/2023 school year. Students must be approved by the New Mexico Activities Association (NMAA) and will only be allowed to compete for the high school district that they reside in.

The rule differs from the current APS enrollment policy that provides students more freedom in which school they attend. Under the current format, an athlete may compete for a school not technically in their home district. However, an eighth-grader choosing to participate in high school athletics will not have that choice. If the student-athlete decides to transfer once they reach high school age, they will not be allowed to compete at the varsity level for one year per NMAA policy.

There are currently other school districts around the state that permit the use of eighth-graders in high school athletics. Rio Rancho public schools and some Albuquerque private schools already allow those student-athletes to make the decision to play at the varsity level.