Prep stars looking to transfer to other schools solely for athletic reasons will find their path easier beginning in 2017-18.
The California Interscholastic Federation Federated Council, by a 100-38 vote, approved a revision that removes authority granted to local commissioners, such as the Central Section’s Jim Crichlow, to deny eligibility to students who transfer primarily for what they see as a better athletic opportunity.
The revision, approved with the help of the Central Section’s 11 votes, goes into effect July 1, though Cricholow doesn’t expect a major impact in the local section – which includes the central and southern portions of the San Joaquin Valley.
By his estimates, 90 percent of the roughly 900 to 1,000 transfers that the Central Section processes each year have some level of athletic motivation. But proving it has been problematic.
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“The reason it is being eliminated is for consistency,” Crichlow said. “It’s such a difficult thing to be consistent with from section to section and throughout the state.”
Section commissioners until now could impose a one-year ban if a transfer was found to be athletically motivated.
But under the revision, such students would be free to transfer – be it because of dissatisfaction with a coach, the chance for increased playing time or simply to play for a higher-profile program – without the need to hide their reasoning or fear retribution from their previous school.
A full-family move is still required to gain instant eligibility. Those who don’t are subject to the sit-out rule, which keeps transfers banned until a predetermined date – which were Oct. 3 in the fall, Jan. 2 in the winter and April 3 in the spring of the current school year. The sit-out rule is expected to change in 2018-2019 to a model that forces transfers to miss exactly half a season.
Remaining forbidden are transfers who follow a club coach, those who have been recruited or received undue influence or those who choose a new school as a group.
Crichlow said roughly 2 percent of the state’s nearly 800,000 student athletes transfer each year.
“I don’t see it as being a big thing here in our section,” Crichlow said. “Sometimes the grass is not always greener at another school, even through the perception may be.”
CIF bylaw change
A look at modified guiding language on athletically motivated moves or transfers, as approved by the CIF State office.
Q: What is meant by an athletically motivated move or transfer?
A: What Based on the CIF philosophy that the “student attend school to receive an education first; athletic participation is secondary” [Bylaw 200.A.(2)], individual Section Offices may limit eligibility for a student when there is evidence the transfer, or move is made to acquire athletic participation at School B. Such evidence of an athletically motivated move may be, but is not limited to:
- Evidence of parental or student dissatisfaction with a coach or a coaching decision at the former school.
- Evidence the student’s move would result in the assurance the student would gain varsity participation at the new school or result in more playing time.
- A move to a school by the student that is believed (objectively or subjectively) to be more competitive or athletically visible.
- A demonstrated move or transfer to a school with which the student has had an athletic association.
- A move or transfer to a school by a student who is associated with outside agencies that use the facilities or personnel at the new school of attendance.
- The preponderance of credible evidence the move was not made in good faith to secure greater educational advantage for the student.
- A demonstrated move or transfer that is prompted by association with club programs or outside agencies that use the facilities of the new school.
- Evidence that multiple students have transferred or changed schools to participate in a particular sports program at one (1) school