Team Split Policy and Guidelines

Updated Thursday July 16, 2015 by Amelia Carruth.

Team Split Policy

Individual team sizes shall be limited to a maximum of 33 players. If registration numbers for a team exceed 33 players, that team must divide into at least 2 or more equally sized teams. A franchise may choose, at their own discretion, to split teams into smaller than the maximum size (e.g. 60 participants into three teams of 20 in lieu of two teams of 30). The TCYFL recommends splitting team sizes to no smaller than 17 participants.
Split Procedure:

  •  The Franchise Head Coach shall oversee each team split to ensure that it is conducted per this procedure and the spirit of the rule. Any unforeseen issue or discrepancy that is not covered in the F.A.Q. will be resolved by the FHC.
  • After an agreed upon evaluation period, the participants will be drafted by the coaches, one at a time.
  • A coach may protect from the draft up to a maximum of four participants. Those participants shall first be the children of certified coaches on the staff. Any remainder may be participants that played for the same head coach the previous year.
  •  Each team must have the same number (+/-1) of each age group per team. (e.g. if there are 11 nine year-olds for two teams then one team will have five and the other six).
  •  If one sibling is protected by a coach, then all siblings are protected and the other coach may pick up to the amount of additional siblings before draft order is established.
  •  If a coach selects one of a set of siblings, that coach must use his next consecutive pick(s) on the remaining siblings.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ's)

Why are we adopting this procedure?

The Board of Directors fields comments and questions from parents and coaches all year long about league policies and rules. Some of the comments and questions could be summarized by “What is the split procedure in the league?” and “Why do we obviously allow franchises to split teams into ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams?” In addition, we receive comments from parents that their child is “stuck” on the “B” team every year, because the same players stay together year after year.
The Board of Directors could point to the old procedure, which forced teams to even out the ages and asked that the teams be split evenly by talent. The Director of Rules would audit the splits and ensure compliance with the age splits, but could not hope to know if the teams were split evenly by talent. It became obvious that some were, and some weren’t. This begged the question, “How were franchises splitting teams so that some of them are resulting in even records (good, bad, or average), and others are grossly unbalanced (8-0 vs. 0-8)?”
Last year, the Board formally asked the question. Each franchise was required to develop and submit their franchise-wide split procedure. A committee was formed to evaluate the procedures to see if they were in line with our mission and league policies. After very few comments, the committee approved the individual procedures. After last season, the final records of the split teams were evaluated, and the coaches from the teams with the greatest disparity were asked to come before the Board and explain what happened.
With few exceptions, the teams that were unbalanced were split using a procedure where a large number of players were kept by a coach from the previous year. As that team became more successful, more talent would flock to that team. Players that were good enough would force their way onto the team, and new talented players would be recruited or otherwise gravitate to that same team. In practice a majority of the talent was perpetually on the same team. At the same time the less successful team(s) saw their talent dwindle by both defection and quitting, because they were stuck on the “B” team. Kids were quitting in 6th grade because they had lost for four straight years, while other kids they went to school with won three or four championships. These kids may never play football again.
The Board had asked for talent to be distributed evenly between the split teams. This was not happening, and was perpetually getting worse. One option was to limit the number of automatic holdovers from the previous year. This would throw more of the talent into the draft pool. Each coach would be drafting from roughly 80%+ of the pool instead of only 50%.
What do you define as a “sibling”?: First, we’re not looking to split up nuclear families. So, if they’re brothers, half-brothers, step-brothers, or living under the same roof in some form of domestic partnership they qualify as siblings. We have girls that play football too, so substitute sister for brother, when appropriate. Exchange students would be considered siblings to the host family. The franchise head coach can use his/her best judgment if some other situation is present.
Cousins or other relations are not considered siblings unless they are living in the same house.

How does protecting siblings work?

Coach Smith protects the three coaches' kids and may protect one additional player that he coached the previous season. He chooses Josh. Josh's brothers, Peter and Sam, will also be protected. Coach Ralph can now make two picks to even the teams before the draft order is decided and the draft begins.

How does selecting siblings work?

Coach Smith uses his 4th pick on Caleb. He must use his 5th pick on his brother Aiden and his 6th pick on his other brother Luke. The intent is to prevent Coach Smith from taking advantage by picking Caleb and leaving Aiden and Luke to his last picks because the other coach cannot pick them.

Can I protect four players and dare the other coach to pick my coaches’ kids?

No. You must protect your coaches’ kids first before protecting any players that played for the head coach the previous year. Before the draft, the coaching staffs and any free-agent coaches (coaches that will coach for whichever team drafts their kid) must be declared to the franchise head coach. The coaches’ sons or daughters must be protected first.
The intent here is not to keep a group of seven or eight elite players together on one team. The intent is to distribute the talent as evenly as possible across the teams.

I was an assistant coach last year, and now am head coach. Can I protect any of the players I coached last year?

No. Only a returning head coach can protect players other than coaches’ kids. If the other coach protects four, and you only protect two, you can take the first two picks prior to beginning the draft.

Can I have a kid’s dad sign up to coach, so I can protect the kid?

Yes, he needs to go through all steps of certification, and then we would expect him to be an active coach (at least two practices a week and games on the weekend). We understand that life happens and coaches with the best intentions are drawn away for work or other circumstances. However, if there was no intention that the dad would be able to contribute as a coach, it would not be within the spirit of the rules to name him coach just to protect his son. Any head coach that would twist a rule like that is someone we don’t want coaching in our league.