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New York High Schools Sue Over Eligibility Rule Change

A new rule regarding athletic eligibility at charter and private schools in upstate New York has caused nine schools to sue in order to overturn the rule. The rule states that students who transfer to a new school without changing residency would be ineligible to participate in sports at the school for a year. 

In October of last year, The New York State Public High School Athletic Association instated this rule in order to stop high schools from recruiting students through transfers for the sole purpose of improving their teams. 

The nine schools involved in the lawsuit reported that there have been no complaints about recruiting or unfair advantages over the past three years and accuse the association of trying to prevent parents and students from attending the school of their choice. 

McQuaid Jesuit, one of the schools involved in the lawsuit, issued a statement saying, “We feel the amendments to the Transfer Rule are an inappropriate restriction on the fundamental right of parents and students to choose the education for which they are best suited.” 

783 public, parochial, and private schools are part of the association and would be affected by the rule. Enforcement of the new rule is scheduled to begin for the 2015-2016 school year and applies only to sports that students played the previous year.  

The nine schools have requested that a state court annul the rule, therefore eliminating the need for students to fill out waivers proving that the school they are transferring to has three or more academic courses that their previous school did not have. Parents who decide to transfer their student-athlete and change residences would need to provide proof of their “intent to remain indefinitely” in the new location.

Data provided by the association shows an increase in transfers with academic waivers over the past three years, going from 132 in 2011-2012 to 213 in 2013-2014. 

In their proposal last fall, the association stated that it “believes many students/schools are gain an ‘athletic’ advantage by receiving ‘education’ waivers; this revision would reduce the number of students transferring” for athletic purposes."

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