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Prep sports: Foothill gets stricter

League adopts yearlong sit-out rule for transfers, going beyond 30-day CIF rule passed in May

Posted: July 4, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: July 4, 2012 1:55 a.m.
 

The CIF revised its transfer rules in May. Now the Foothill League has taken restrictions further.

The Foothill League has adopted a new rule in late June that will restrict athletes who make a transfer request to a school within the league.

Beginning July 31 of the current school year, athletes wishing to transfer schools won’t be able to compete in the same varsity sport for the entire school year without a bona vide change of address.

If an athlete without a bona fide change of address makes a transfer request prior to July 31, he or she will fall under restrictions placed by the CIF.

In May, the CIF revised bylaw 207 to now state, “A student who transfers without making a valid change of residence, is not eligible for varsity competition in any sport the student participated in at his/her previous school during the last 12 calendar months, until the following dates: fall — Oct. 1; winter — Dec. 31; and spring — April 1 for the entire school year.

But the William S. Hart Union High School District, which all six Foothill League schools belong to, discussed the transfer rule with athletic directors, principals and assistant principals who were concerned that the CIF 30-day sit-out rule was not a strong deterrent against students transferring for athletic reasons.

“It’s always been an issue,” said Greg Lee, Hart District Director of Human Resources and Equity Services of students transferring for athletically motivated reasons. “People become more creative in terms of shopping around. It’s more become a national trend. We as a league don’t like that. We don’t want our kids to move from place to place.”

Local coaches and administrators criticized the CIF rule in May as not being a harsh enough transfer deterrent.

But the CIF-Southern Section, according to Lee, allowed leagues to make the sit-out rule harsher.

Lee said the Foothill League had the Southern Section’s blessing on its rule.

Students who transfer from one Foothill League school to another with a bona fide change of address after July 31 will have varsity eligibility after the 30-day sit-out period instituted by the CIF.

Transfer students with or without a bona fide change of address may have immediate eligibility in non-varsity athletics. Varsity athletes can transfer and have immediate eligibility in sports they didn’t play at their previous school.

One thing that Lee wanted to make clear, though, was that just because an athlete transfers doesn’t mean they are ensured athletic eligibility. The school and district still have to rule on that.

“We felt as a league it was important for us, for the culture of the community, we wanted to have kids stay at their own school,” Lee said. “We know we have kids who go out of the area, but wherever you start your career, unless there are extenuating circumstances, you should stay at your school.”

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