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Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc. (PWLS) is a non-profit organization that promotes youth football and cheer & dance programs for participants in several states and countries around the world.

With approximately 325,000 youth participants ranging from ages 5 to 16 years old, Pop Warner is the largest youth football, cheer and dance program in the world.

Pop Warner was founded in 1929, and continues to grow and serves as the only youth football, cheerleading & dance organization that requires its participants to maintain academic standards in order to participate. Pop Warner's commitment to academics is what separates the program from other youth sports around the world.

As the only national youth sports organization that requires scholastic aptitude to participate, Pop Warner is committed to developing America's young people on the field and off. Each year Pop Warner continues to expand its efforts in team and activity participation, as well as visibility and outreach in the community.

Since 1929, the Pop Warner Programs Philosophy has been that athletics and scholastics go hand in hand. At every level, Pop Warner programs seek to develop well-rounded young men and women who learn not only the fundamentals of football, cheerleading, and dance but also the importance of education in an atmosphere conducive to developing sound character while having a good time.

SAFETY FIRST:

Kids compete with kids of similar age and size. Pop Warner is the ONLY youth football program (local, regional and national) that sets and enforces a strict AGE & WEIGHT MATRIX that reduces the risk and reality of injuries.

In Pop Warner Football, there is “an absence of catastrophic head and neck injuries and disruptive joint injuries found at higher levels.”

The injury rate in Pop Warner Football is:

Less than one-third the injury rate in high school football (AND) less than one-fifth the injury rate in college football (AND) less than one-ninth the injury rate in professional football.

Furthermore, Pop Warner's age-weight schematic protects younger, lighter players, who do not have higher injury rates.

The Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma in New York completed a Pop Warner injury survey in 71 towns covering over 5,000 players in 1998. The injury experience of 5,128 boys (8 to 15 years of age, weight 22.5 to 67.5 kg [50 to 150 lb]) participating in youth football revealed an overall rate of significant injury of 5%, with 61% classified as moderate and 38.9% as major injuries. That's about 1.33 per team per year. No catastrophic injuries occurred, and it was rare for a permanent disability to result from any injury.

MANDATORY PLAY RULE:

The following shall be the Minimum Mandatory Play Rule (MPR) for all Pop Warner teams: 16-25 Players (10 Plays), 26-30 Players (8 Plays) and 31-35 Players (6 Plays).

Each league may set a higher number of Mandatory Plays, but never less than the minimum set by PWLS. All MPRs should be based on eligible players at the time of the game.

  1. The plays must be from the line of scrimmage.
  2. Kickoffs, extra points, QB intentionally spiking the ball and free kicks shall not be used in fulfilling the MPR requirement.
  3. A play shall not count toward fulfillment of the MPR if the play
  4. results in a penalty which causes the down to be replayed.
  5. All players shall be provided their mandatory plays by participation in “active” plays, without the intent to minimize the action or integrity of the plays. Plays such as, but not limited to, having the center snap the ball to the quarterback, and then the quarterback fall to the ground, while substitutes are playing the other positions, shall NOT be considered as active plays.
  6. All players shall receive their mandatory plays by the end of the third quarter, or they shall enter the game at the start of the fourth quarter, and remain in the game until they have received their required number of plays.
  7. Failure to adhere to MRP requirements will result in forfeiture of game in addition to enforcement policies.

Each League shall establish its own system for enforcing the MPR, and must print a simple handout describing its MPR in sufficient quantity so that a copy is made available to each coach throughout the entire League, before the beginning of the season. The Nationally preferred system is that used in the National games.

There are Seven Divisions of play, all determined by a strict age/weight scale to ensure safe and balanced competition.

AGES AND WEIGHTS FOR TACKLE FOOTBALL PROGRAMS:

Age/Weight Division

Age(s)

Minimum Weight

Maximum Weight

TINY-MITE

(older/lighter)

5-6-7*

No older/lighter

35 lbs

No older/lighter

84 lbs

No older/lighter

MITEY-MITE

(older/lighter)

7-8-9

No older/lighter

50 lbs

No older/lighter

109 lbs

No older/lighter

JR. PEE WEE

(older/lighter)

8-9-10

11

115 lbs

95 lbs

124 lbs

104 lbs

PEE WEE

(older/lighter)

9-10-11

12

130 lbs

110 lbs

139 lbs

119 lbs

JR. VARSITY

(older/lighter)

10-11-12

13

115 lbs

135 lbs

164 lbs

144 lbs

UNLIMITED

(older/lighter)

11-12-13-14

No older/lighter

105 lbs

No older/lighter

unlimited

No older/lighter

* some associations restrict registration to 6 & 7 year olds only

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It's just the beginning... Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.
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