MHSAA enforces new rule to reduce number of athlete transfers

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Expect to see a dip in the number of high school athlete transfers.

In an interview with the Detroit Free Press, Michigan High School Athletic Association executive director Jack Roberts revealed the executive committee is implementing a new rule that lengthens the ineligibility period for transferring athletes in an effort to reduce the rate of athletically motivated transfers.

During the 2011-12 school year there were 352 request sent to the MHSAA executive committee to waive the transfer regulation, which requires a student athlete to sit through one semester of ineligibility unless they've fulfilled one of the 15 exceptions. But Roberts says the number of successful transfers amounts to an even higher number.

"I would offer that there are more than 1,000 students who transfer and sit out," Roberts explained to the Free Press. "The vast majority of students who change schools are not ineligible at all because they fit one of the exceptions. Then there's a group that change schools and know they will sit out."

The current MHSAA athletically motivated transfer rule of a one semester sit-out, hasn't offered much restriction. Football players are able to transfer in January and be eligible for participation by August and baseball players can transfer in August and become eligible by January.

"That wasn't working as well as we hoped," Roberts told the Free Press. "So this new rule will have some almost automatic triggers and will not require the school that lost the student to make an allegation of an athletic-motivated transfer."

Under the new procedures, there are more triggers that help easily identify an athletically motivated school transfer, for example if an athlete participates in a school's open gym then transfers to that school, he or she must sit out 180 days or a full school year, unless they meet one of the 15 exceptions. Furthermore, if an athlete plays for a coach during a school sporting event such as AAU basketball, 7-on-7 football or summer baseball before transferring to the school, the 180 day rule takes effect.

The new rule will take effect during the 2014-15 school year.

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