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Rules of the statewide schools competitions

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These are the rules of the statewide schools competitions updated August 2023. Sport specific rules are available on the sport page. See choose a sport for details.


Schools affiliated with School Sport SA may enter teams in the statewide schools competitions. Only students attending that school can be selected in the school team unless a statewide schools competition - request form has been approved.

Competitions offered

Schools will be able to download a copy of the playing conditions, rules and fixtures which include round due dates from the School Sport SA sport specific page.

Year 5 and 6

  • Australian football
  • Basketball
  • Cricket
  • Football (soccer)
  • Netball
  • Softball
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball - year 6 only

Year 7 to 12

  • Australian football
  • Badminton
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Cricket
  • Football (soccer)
  • Futsal (indoor soccer)
  • Hockey
  • Indoor cricket
  • Netball
  • Softball
  • Table tennis
  • Tennis
  • Touch football
  • Volleyball


Statewide schools competitions are to be played either:

  • boys
  • girls
  • mixed (year 7 to 12 competitions only)

The intent is that girls may not play in boys' teams and visa versa as competitions are offered for both genders. Where there is no reasonable opportunity for a player to participate in an appropriate competition then approval to play in an opposite gender team can be requested by filling in a statewide schools competitions - request form prior to participation and is subject to approval from the School Sport Team.

Age groups

Year 5 and 6

Students must be in year 5 or 6 for all statewide schools competitions. Students in year 4 will only be eligible for selection by schools submitting the statewide schools competition - request form and is subject to approval from the School Sport Team. Requests must be submitted prior to the team competing.

Year 7 to 12

Students who are enrolled in year 6 or younger are not eligible to compete in year 7 to 12 statewide schools competitions.

  • Year 7 and 8
  • Year 7 to 9
  • Year 9 and 10
  • Year 10 to 12
  • Year 11 and 12

Lower year level secondary students can be selected in year 9, 10, 11 and 12 teams if there are insufficient numbers.


Year 5 and 6

Schools will be allocated to large, medium or small schools divisions based on enrolment numbers, the number of nominated school and how these schools can be most effectively allocated to fixtures.

Year 7 to 12

Fixtures will be created considering:

  • previous year's results.
  • number of nominations.
  • strength rating.
  • size of school.
  • geographic location.

Combined schools

A statewide schools competitions - request form must be submitted prior to nominations closing for that sport and approved prior to the team being able to participate. The intent is for each school to enter their own team. Each request will be considered on its merit.

Campus school entry

Year 5 and 6

School Sport SA believes it is important to maximise the number of students who can participate in sporting programs. For schools that comprise of more than one campus the following will apply:

  • Each campus that has an individual location number is to affiliate with School Sport SA and enter competitions individually.
  • Each school with more than one campus at the same site or on sites within the same Sapsasa district and having the same location number us ti affiliate with School Sport SA and to enter competitions as one school.
  • Each school with more than one campus on different sites and in different Sapsasa districts and having the same location number is to affiliate with School Sport SA and to enter competitions independently.

For any variation to the above the school will need to seek approval from the School Sport Team Leader.

Sport specific rules

These can be found on the sport specific pages. Provide these to your coaches prior to and at the event. If clarification is needed phone School Sport SA and ask for the organiser of that sport as indicated on the fixture.


Schools will be invoiced for teams they have entered after nominations have closed.

Nomination fees are calculated based on the number of players starting on the field or court

  • Year 5 and 6 competitions is $3.30 per player. Basketball has an additional cost due to the structure of the competition.
  • Year 7 to 12 competitions is $5.50 per player. Futsal (indoor soccer) and touch football have an additional cost due to the structure of the competition.

Country schools do not pay the nomination or finals fee. Where possible, School Sport SA will subside the travel cost of country schools playing in finals.

Final's participation, late nominations and withdrawal fees are:

  • $50 per team for the finals
  • $25 per team for late nominations
  • $55 per team for a minor round forfeit or withdrawal
  • $110 per team for a finals round forfeit or withdrawal

Additional fees

Minor rounds for division 2 volleyball and other competitions with substantial organisational requirements on occasions which are organised and run by School Sport SA, will incur additional local costs and therefore additional fees, on top of the nomination fee, to cover venue hire will be invoiced.

Minor round matches

For organisation details see the 'organising your games' section on the fixture for each competition. All games are to be played before the due date.

Schools are to ring or email each other to organise arrangements as soon as possible. It is not the sole responsibility of the nominated 'organising school' to do so. Nominating schools must acknowledge that they may be drawn to play a school/s from across the state and would therefore be required to undertake significant travel. Groups separated by signifincant distance must arrange a venue approximately halfway between all schools, other locations must be mutually agreed. Where appropriate, each school is responsible for supplying the necessary equipment for matches.

Schools should aim to arrange to play matches early in the allotted time to allow for rescheduling prior to the due date to occur, in the event of necessary postponement eg, adverse weather conditions.

Cost sharing

The major expenses of a group are generally associated with travel, followed by umpires/referees. Organisational priority must be given to schools sharing costs as evenly as practicable. One way this may be done reasonably is by travelling schools paying for transportation and the host school paying for the umpires/referees and officials. If this doesn't result in an equitable way of sharing costs (eg. significant travel involved), competing schools must come to another agreement to equate costs prior to the event. If all schools are travelling, other costs (eg umpires) must be shared evenly.

Equal playing time

Year 5 and 6 only

All players selected in a team for a statewide schools competition must have equal playing time per round and in the finals of the competition. The rotation of players is encouraged.


Schools should have a sports policy that includes selection guidelines. School Sport SA recommends:
  • A teacher is responsible for the selection of the team.
  • Include a panel of at least one other person but preferably a panel of three is recommended.
  • A minimum of two trial are conducted.
  • Selection for each school team should be based on ability.
  • Students must be given as close to equal playing time during the trials to demonstrate their skills and abilities.
  • Allowances during trials must be made for students who are absent for legitimate reasons such as illness.


Each school has the duty of care responsibility of their students participating in School Sport SA events. A teacher or a supervisor approved by the school principal must accompany every team. All supervisors (including parents and volunteers) must meet the minimal requirements of the screening and suitability child safety procedure, volunteer policies and procedures. These can be found on the Department for Education website sporting and adventure activities (department login required). Adult to participant ratios and training requirements are also listed.

All coaches, players and spectators must be made aware of the codes of behaviour - listed below. If student supporters are to be present this should be negotiated with the visiting school prior to the event.

Referees/umpires shall report to the teacher responsible or adult concerned if any person (player, official and spectator) who, in their opinion, is acting inappropriately. Reports will then be forwarded to the principals of all schools involved with a copy sent to the School Sport Officer responsible for the competition.


Coaching permitted by the appointed coach/manager only. Coaching must not be interfere with the flow of the game or violate any rules that may apply. Coaches, officials and teachers should be supplied with and know the codes of behaviour. Coaching in all competitions should prioritise learning and development.

Umpires or referees

It is the responsibility of the organising school to organise the umpires/referees.

  • Umpire/referees must be suitably qualified and experienced to officiate at the level of the matches.
  • If possible, the umpires/referees should come from a neutral source.
  • It is not suitable to have students umpire/referee their own year level at their own school, no matter what standard they are.

If the recommended standards are not used, the convening school is to confirm this with the other schools involved prior to the day of competition.

Once all schools have agreed on umpire/referees, School Sport SA expects all schools abide by the codes of behaviour which states that all students, officials and spectators accept the decision of the umpires/referees. School Sport SA staff will not enter into discussions about the quality of refereeing/umpiring.


All statewide schools competitions will use the below procedure to determine team placings unless stated otherwise in the individual sport, competition or event documentation.

Premiership point

  • 3 points for a win.
  • 2 points for a draw.
  • 1 point for a loss.
  • 0 points for a forfeit.

Placings at the competition of group matches:

  1. Final positions will be determined by teams being placed in descending order based on premiership points gained.
  2. If 2 teams gain the same number of premiership points, placings will be decided by the results of the match between the 2 teams concerned.
  3. If the 2 teams had a draw when they played, placings will be decided by the overall score difference (score for minus score against) starting with the largest denomination first. For example, sets before points. If the teams score difference is the same, go to point 7.
  4. If 2 or more teams gain the same number of premiership points, placings will be determined by score difference in matches played between these teams only. For example, score for minus score against.
  5. If 2 teams are tied after point 4, the result of the match between the 2 teams concerned will determine the winner.
  6. if teams are still tied, the score difference between all teams will be used.
  7. if teams are still tied, the team conceding the least points in matches between these teams will be the winner.
  8. In the event  that teams are still tied after applying all of the above, the team conceding the least points for the entire day will be declared the winner.

Refer to the sport rules on the sport specific pages for more detail before contacting the school sport office for advice.

The winning school must phone 8416 5900 or email education.schoolsportsa@sa.gov.au with the completed results as soon as possible following the matches being played.


All finals will be organised by School Sport SA. The details of the finals will be sent to all the schools involved. Final's day (as indicated on the fixtures) will not be changed to accommodate schools or individual programs. Presentations of and a plaque and gold medals will be presented to the winners and silver medals to the runners up immediately after the final match has been completed.

In the event of a team withdrawing from the finals, a replacement team will be selected in their place. This selection will be be made by the School Sport Officer running the competition.

Extreme weather

If extreme weather conditions are forecast, competing schools will need to liaise with each other and make decisions regarding playing times, rule modifications or rescheduling.

For finals games only sever weather will result in rescheduling. In extreme weather, modifications to the format and length of games may need to occur.

Mercy rule

Although the statewide schools competition program provides a competitive environment, it is often used by some schools to provide and opportunity for beginners to play, because there are no other school sport opportunity for them to do so, or for teaching and learning purposes.

This can lead to the scenario where two very mismatched teams will play each other. No player (particularly beginners) will benefit from an extremely one sided experience. The teachers in charge of the two teams are advised to discuss with each other the bes way to proceed to avoid an extremely one sided experience. The way the winner of the grouping is determined removes the use of percentage against non competitive teams. See the sport specific pages.

Send off rule

Many sports have rules to deal with inappropriate behaviour by sending players off the playing area. The length of time will be determined by the official involved based on the severity of the incident. The time will be managed by the coach of the playing team. School Sport SA intends the penalty to impact on the offending player only (not the team) hence the player can be replaced, unless there are sport specific rules that state differently in the rules for that sport.


School Sport SA aims to conduct competitions of a high standard in every aspect and this includes the behaviour of the participants. Swearing by players in unacceptable and any player who sears will be sent off. The organising school will need to inform referee/umpires of this rule so that it can be implemented and have the desired effect.

Fighting and racial vilification

Fighting and racial vilification are not acceptable part of sport and can't be justified for any reason. Any player(s) who is involved in fighting or racial vilification will take no further part in matches being played on that day. The player's principal must be notified to determine further sanctions. It is the responsibility of all schools involved to keep lines of communication open to ensure than an acceptable sanction is in place. The school's sports coordinator should inform the School Sport Officer responsible for that competition or the school's decision regarding disciplinary action.

Codes of behaviour

Read the codes of behaviour.

School Sport SA

Phone: 8416 5900
Email: education.schoolsportsa [at] sa.gov.au