Frequently Asked Questions

Listed below are answers to questions which are frequently asked about the HCYP Basketball Program.
If your question is not answered here, please let us know what your question is and we will answer it as
best as we can.

1. What basketball programs does HCYP offer?

HCYP Basketball offers clinic and recreation basketball for boys and girls in grades 1-12; travel basketball opportunities for boys and girls in grades 4-8; and middle school leagues for boys and girls in grades 6-8. These are main season winter league programs only.  HCYP Basketball also offers travel tournaments in the fall and spring.


2. When can I register? How can I register? Who must register?

Basketball registration is available on-line at www.hcypbasketball.org starting in May for all recreation leagues. Registrants simply click on the “Register Now!” link on the basketball page then follow the instructions. The registration deadlines are listed on the HCYP Basketball registration home page and in the registration materials. The deadline for recreation leagues is generally the end of October; boys and girls clinic and high school registration generally closes early to mid-November. There will be no exceptions for late registrants, except by permission of the league commissioner and only if there an empty slot is available on a team. Registration is now only available online. It is secure and provides immediate registration confirmation. No registrations will be accepted after the registration deadline.Travel and middle school players must register separately though their teams once selected. A player is not required to register to try-out for a travel team. All travel and middle school players must register before they can play or before their team can be issued practice times. Additional travel and middle school team fees are separate from the HCYP Basketball registration fees and must be paid separately.


3. Can my child be placed in a later or earlier grade group than the grade he/she is currently in?

Yes. HCYP Basketball makes exceptions for players who may be in a grade older or later than the standard age parameters allow. When you register you will have a choice of which grade to place your child. If you have any questions about what grade level league your child is placed, you may contact the league commissioner for the grade level you want your child placed in to discuss the options.Travel and middle school basketball requirements are slightly different. The head coach will make a final decision on the age and grade requirements for his/her team based on whether or not they will play in leagues that are age based, grade based or age based with grade level exceptions. The coaches,however, must stay within the parameters of the age/grade group to which he/she is assigned.Middle School teams allow any middle school player to play on the varsity team as selected by the team’s head coach. Only players in grades 6-7 may play on the junior varsity team.


4. What if my child just wants to play up in grade?

Players may play up in grade with approval from the league commissioner and the recreation league commissioner. The general rule is players can play up but not down. HCYP Basketball will work with the parents to determine if the player would benefit from playing up. Placement also would be contingent on available openings in the older league.


5. My child is five years old and in kindergarten. Can she/he play in the K-1 clinic league?

Yes, if the parent feels the child is ready. HCYP Basketball begins teaching basketball skills for youth starting at the first grade level; however, a five-year old may be registered for clinic basketball if the parent feels he/she is ready and if the league commissioner concurs.


6. What is the difference between clinic basketball, regular recreation basketball, middle school basketball and travel basketball? Do all teams practice?

The K-1 and 2nd grade advanced clinic leagues teach beginning basketball skills for boys and girls. Their teams will meet once each Saturday (Boys) and Sunday (Girls) for a 90-minute session where these skills are taught. During each session, skills are taught through different activities including drills, conditioning exercises and games. In addition, each session includes scrimmaging or (regular games in the 2nd grade advanced clinic) with another clinic team where the skills they learn are put to work and further developed. K-1 scrimmages are not officiated but are coached by the coaching staffs.  The 2nd grade advanced clinic games will be officiated by the coaches to allow more direct, hands0on skills training and development by the coaches with their players.

Other recreation basketball teams play regular officiated games on the weekends. Scores are kept and playoffs are played. These age groups include 3rd – 12th grade boys and girls. In addition to these games, teams in the 3rd – 8th grade groups will practice one night each week for one hour. The senior leagues (9th-12th grades) do not practice, but they play games on the weekends.

Middle school teams are selected largely from students who attend the represented middle school. Students from middle schools not represented may play on a combined team, like Howard United, which is made up of players from various middles schools. Travel and Middle School basketball teams are selected from players who try-out for them. Travel teams carry the name of HCYP Elite; Middle School teams are called by the middle school they represent. Travel and Middle School Teams play at a higher and more intense level and practice accordingly.  These teams generally hold two, 90-minute practices each week (after 5:00 PM) and will generally play one or two games on the weekends, plus holiday tournaments, depending on what the head coach sets up. These teams are managed directly by each team’s head coach, who determines who is chosen for these teams. These teams also are responsible for their own expenses beyond what the registration fees cover. Travel and Middle School team expenses generally include, but are not limited to: uniform purchase, league entry fees, travel costs, team equipment, gym costs, etc. Limited insurance and practice gym usage is covered through the HCYP Basketball registration fee.


7. Are the Middle School teams affiliated with the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS)?

No. All middle school teams are affiliated with HCYP Basketball, a division of Howard county Youth Program, Inc. (HCYP). Middle school teams allow more players to play in a travel basketball environment before entering high school. Players also get an opportunity to play with their classmates as they would do during high School.


8. Does HCYP provide financial assistance for players/families?

Yes.  You can apply here HCYP Financial Aid.


9. If I coach a team, can my child’s registration fee be waived?

Not at this time. HCYP is an all-volunteer organization, and coaches as well as all commissioners and officers of the organization volunteer their time for reasons other than compensation. The coach may,however, request a scholarship for his child should there be a financial need.


10. My child was registered but has decided not to play HCYP Basketball this year. Can I get a refund? What happens if my child was registered for a recreation team then decided to play for a middle school or travel team?

No refunds are provided for either the HCYP Basketball Recreation or Middle School/Travel programs once registration has been completed for the individual player except for the exemptions listed in the posted refund policy.  This policy is agreed to by the registrants or legal guardians registering on behalf of the registrant during the registration process.

The Recreation and Middle School/Travel programs are separate operations and are managed accordingly.  The Recreation registration process requires that a person who plans to tryout for a middle school or travel team cannot register for the recreation program. Once a Recreation player’s registration has been completed, the established refund policy applies.  However, should a player register for the Recreation program then decide to play for a middle school or travel team, HCYP Basketball can issue a credit to the registrant that can be used toward the separate Middle School/Travel (MS/T) team registration fee.  They would first need to notify the head coach of the MS/T team of this situation who would verify the player’s selection to the team to the MS/T Group Commissioner and the HCYP Basketball Finance Director in requesting the credit.  The registrant must receive the issued credit BEFORE registering for the MS/T team so the credit can be applied.  If the registrant pays for the MS/T registration in full without requesting the credit, then HCYP Basketball may offer to issue a site credit for use in a future HCYP Basketball recreation registration or event; however, no refunds can be issued in this instance.

In the event that a refund is appropriate and approved, HCYP Basketball may assign a $50.00 administrative fee for the cancellation.  This fee shall be waived for refunds due to injury or other medical issue.


11. How are teams selected for middle school, travel and recreation groups?

First of all, travel team and middle school try-outs are generally held in September/early-October for the upcoming season. The schedule for these try-outs is posted on the HCYP Basketball website and in the local newspapers. Emails are also sent out to players in the HCYP Basketball database. The head coach of the travel team will contact the players who tried out for their team to let them know if they made the team or not. Once the travel teams are selected and all players have been registered, the head coach establishes the practice and game schedule for the remainder of the season. Next, the 3rd-8th grade recreation teams are selected.

Divided by gender and age groups, the list of registered players goes to the individual league commissioners who schedule evaluations for everyone on that list. These evaluations are scheduled by league and are held in late October and early November in the presence of all coaches within that league. All players must be evaluated. If a player cannot make a scheduled evaluation, the league commissioner will arrange an alternative evaluation for him or her. Each player will be contacted by a coach with the league’s evaluation schedule. These schedules will also be posted on the HCYP website.

Once all player evaluations are complete, all the coaches and the league commissioner meet to select the teams for their league in a balanced draft. The draft is designed to help ensure that all teams are evenly and fairly competitive. Once the draft is complete and the league commissioner approves the teams, players will be contacted by their coach and will be given their practice times.

Practices generally start in early-mid November, and games will start in December. All K-2 CLINIC players are divided into gender and age groups and are assembled into clinic teams by the league commissioner with help from the coaches. No evaluations are held for K-2 clinic players, but the league attempts to place players together who are from the same areas of the county. Requests to have certain players be on the same team may also be accommodated by the league commissioner. These teams are assembled in November and each player will be contacted by their team’s coach prior to the end of November with their clinic schedule. Clinic sessions begin in January and end in late February early March. Clinics are held in 90-minute sessions each weekend. HIGH SCHOOL players are evaluated on the first Sunday of December and are selected to a team the following week with games generally scheduled to start in December after the teams are selected. There are no practices for the high school leagues. High school players will be contacted by a league coach or other official prior to the evaluations.

12. My middle school child attends private school or is home schooled?  Can he/she still tryout for a HCYP Basketball middle school team?

Yes.  The child would need to try out for the middle school in which the private school or home residence is zoned per Howard County Public School System.  If there is any question about the correct school for which to try out, you may contact the HCYP Basketball Middle School Commissioner to confirm.  In addition, the child may tryout for the Howard United middle school team which is part of the HCYP Basketball middle school program and is open for students of middle schools who are not represented by an active middle school team.

13. Can I have my child placed on the same team with his/her friend or with a specific coach?

This is very possible in the clinic leagues; however, since the older leagues are bound by the draft, the fulfillment of this request cannot be guaranteed. If the request can be worked out by the league commissioner in agreement with other coaches in the league without creating an imbalance (one way or another) on any given team, then it is permissible but still not guaranteed. This request must be made directly to the league commissioner who directly oversees this area.


14. I cannot make the practice times that have been assigned to my child’s team. Can I get a refund?

The HCYP Basketball refund policy applies to this instance. As in the case with all other sports, players and families sign up for the sport with the understanding schedules are not guaranteed. Families should have some flexibilities to be able accommodate the schedules when they are released. If there is a conflict, however, the league commissioner will try to help find a resolution for the conflict if it can be accommodated; however, refunds are not issued for this conflict.


15. I have twins (triplets, etc.) who need to be placed on the same team. Can they be assured placement on the same team?

Only for the clinics. In the older leagues, if the siblings are equal in talent and would be first round picks in the draft, for example, they could not fairly be placed on the same team. However, if the talent levels of the siblings are variable enough to allow them to be placed on the same team without affecting league parity, then the commissioner and coaches may be able to accommodate the request but even that is still not guaranteed. This request must be made directly to and approved by the league commissioner.


16. I would like to coach a recreation team. Can my child be automatically assigned to my team?

Yes. Only the head coach’s child may be automatically assigned to that head coach’s team. The children of assistant coaches cannot be automatically assigned to any team and are subject to the same rules of the draft as all other players, except the head coach’s child. The head coach’s child must be assigned in the draft in the round which most accurately reflects his/her skill level (i.e., first round, second round,etc.) and the head coach may not draft a player for his/her team during that round.


17. I have issues with the team on which my child was placed (coach, other players, practice schedules, etc.)? Can I move my child to another team? How should I address these issues?

All team issues should first be addressed with the coach and then the league commissioner. The league commissioner is there to help resolve all issues within his/her league, including practice schedules,relationships, etc. It is the goal of HCYP Basketball to help ensure that all players and families have a fun and rewarding experience during the season, and the coaches and commissioners are there to help make this happen.


18. My child plays for a travel team in another organization. Can he/she play on an HCYP recreation or HCYP Basketball travel or Middle School team?

No. Any player who plays on any travel team, even if he/she plays on an HCYP Basketball travel or middle school team, may not play for an HCYP Basketball recreation team. In addition, due to conflicts that are certain to arise, players who play for another travel team may not play on an HCYP travel or middle school team. Some exceptions may be made if the player is playing for a religious-based team as long as it is approved by the team’s head coach and the Travel-Middle School Basketball Commissioner and there are no conflicts that would affect the function of the HCYP Basketball team.

Regarding High School Players: 

Players who are selected to their high school JV or Varsity team are eligible to participate in the HCYP boys basketball recreation program, subject to approval from the commissioner. It is essential that teams adhere to the stipulation of not exceeding two high school players per team. This ensures a fair and balanced participation while maintaining the integrity of the HCYP boys basketball program.


19. When are practices and games scheduled for the recreation leagues? Can I know what they will be before I register my child?

Special Note: HCYP receives its weekday practice gym allocations from Howard County Public School System (HCPSS), which assigns gym time to various organizations throughout Howard County with priority going to need of space and non-profit status of the organizations applying for gym space. HCYP is a 501-c-3 non-profit organization and the largest youth sports organization in the county and region serving over 4,000 Howard County youths, 3,500 in basketball alone since it began servicing Western Howard County in 2017. Practice availability is directly impacted by HCPSS’ assignment of this gym time,which has been reduced rather than increased since HCYP Basketball doubled in size when it began to service Western Howard County. Thus, HCYP is unable to guarantee all teams a time and place to practice each week if HCPSS does not allocate the appropriate gym time. Games played on weekends are generally scheduled in HCPSS school gyms which are paid for by HCYP Basketball at the established HCPSS hourly rate and are customarily made available to HCYP as needed.

As with most other sports programs, the practice times and game schedules cannot be assigned until the teams are chosen, your child is placed on a team and the gym permits are in place. This will all take place in November. Practice times for the 2nd-8th grade recreation teams are generally assigned between the hours of 6:00 and 9:00 PM, Mondays – Fridays, one-hour each week.Practices will be held at the same time and location each week, unless there is an exception issued by the school where the gym is located. Practices start in November. Boys games are generally played on Saturdays starting in December at 9:00 AM and running through 7:00 PM or later, depending on the size of the league.Girls’ games are generally played on Sundays starting in December at 1:00 PM running through 7:00 PM or later, depending on the size of the league.

Boys and girls high school leagues generally play their games on Sundays. Clinic leagues play on Saturdays or Sundays, depending on the size of the leagues; however, generally boys leagues will be scheduled on Saturdays and girls on Sundays. This can change in any season. The league commissioners establish his/her league’s schedules.

20. How does HCYP Basketball manage the registration fees it receives for recreation and middle school basketball? What is the money used for?

HCYP Basketball uses its fees primarily to pay for costs associated with administering its recreation and middle school/travel (MS/T) programs to help ensure all players and families productively and safely benefit from participating in the sport.  The two primary cost centers for both the recreation and MS/T programs are for weekend gym rentals when the games are played and referee fees for coverage of those games.  HCYP Basketball pays Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) for gym permits at the current rate charged to cover all games played and clinic sessions on the weekends plus gym permits for the middle school and travel leagues on Saturdays and Sundays.  In addition to weekend gym rentals, HCYP Basketball will rent time at local private gym facilities during the week to make up for gym permit shortages from HCPSS  so middle school and travel teams can have practice times.

In addition to gym rentals and referee fees, HCYP Basketball pays for recreation uniforms and equipment (basketballs, medical kits, ice packs, coaches shirts, etc.), coach supplies and other related costs for the recreation leagues, as well cover equipment costs as needed for MS/T teams.  HCYP Basketball also budgets a small portion for administrative costs such as accounting and website maintenance.  Plus, a portion (currently $25.00) of each registration fee paid goes to HCYP Inc. for administration of the parent company’s operations and costs, including costs of insurance to cover the sports programs. This year, HCYP Basketball is investing in special equipment to help best manage Covid protocols such as disposable masks, digital thermometers, disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizers, etc., for use at the facilities where games are played.

At the end of HCYP Basketball’s fiscal year (April 30), all funds remaining in the account, if net positive, are consigned to the primary HCYP Inc. fund for use for the organization’s general operations.  Any negative balance is absorbed by HCYP Inc.

21. Are the Middle School teams sponsored by the middle schools they represent or the school system??

No. HCYP Middle School teams are fully supported and funded by HCYP Basketball.  Neither the public school system (HCPSS) nor Howard County Recreation & Parks provides any funding or logistical support to the HCYP middle school teams. HCYP Basketball offers a middle school league as an advanced competitive program among the players attending the respective middle schools who must try out for the team representing their school.

22. How are your leagues governed? Are there rules and policies available to the public for review?

Yes. Each year, HCYP Basketball approves the rules and any policy changes for the upcoming year. These rules and policies are posted on the HCYP website at www.hcypbasketball.org.

23. Does HCYP offer spring and fall basketball? Does it include the “Friday Night” Leagues?

HCYP Basketball provides winter basketball leagues and fall and spring travel tournaments. Travel basketball teams may continue to play AAU, YBOA or local league basketball into the spring, summer and fall at the discretion of the team’s head coach and support of HCYP Basketball.  Any basketball event managed by HCYP will specifically state it is HCYP Basketball and no other organization.  HCYP Basketball is not affiliated with the “Friday Night” leagues which are managed by an entirely separate organization.