HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — After nearly 10 years sports will return for middle schoolers in the Harrisburg School District.

The reason why there were no sports for middle school students was because of past budget decisions.

Superintendent Eric Turman says passing this was a priority in letting young people have the opportunity to play sports, find an outlet and prepare them for the future.

“You know some of our schools and our communities need something positive to grasp on to,” Turman said.

After nearly a ten year hiatus sports like football, volleyball, wrestling, track and field, basketball cheerleading, and more will be available for middle school athletes.

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This is something Harrisburg district administrators say will keep students within the Harrisburg School District accountable.

“If the students in the middle school level want to play a sport they need to have the grades they need to make sure they have a positive behavior in school they need to make sure they come to school attendance is going to be important,” Turman said.

“When students have athletics at the middle school level as well as high school it helps them to become more responsible and focus on their academics because without having good grades you cant participate in sports,” Athletics Director Calvin Everett said.

“Everett says having a sports program for the youth will help with their development before they get to the high school level,” Everett said.

“A key thing is being able to identify talent at an early age,” Everett said.

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Staff also says this will give students something to look forward to after school while keeping their grades up.

“It’s going to benefit teachers it’s going to benefit administrators, it’s going to benefit families the community it’s going to benefit the actual student it’s also going to benefit cultures and the overall athletic program,” Everett said.

New coaches and staff are expected to fill some of these positions.

“To be able to see the level of excitement by students about just bringing middle school sports back that for me was enough that this was the right decision of all of us,” Turman said.

The budget will also go towards uniforms and games across the Harrisburg schools. The district is working on joining the PIAA schedule.

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