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Deseret Morning News (Salt Lake City)
MIDVALE - The Utah High School Activities Association is hoping to convince the State Board of Education to reconsider a recently passed board rule governing transfers of high school athletes.
The board notified the UHSAA on Tuesday that it will hold a hearing on the rule Thursday at 5:30 p.m. The association plans to invite school officials from local school board members to principals to coaches to make their concerns known to the state board during that hearing.
"The local districts and schools, along with the coaches are those who know the issues," said UHSAA attorney Mark Van Wagoner. "The arguments that these rules provide a certainty not previously present dissipates with a careful reading of the proposals."
Coaches have been especially vocal about opposing the changes as it threatens to make it easier for student athletes to change schools without losing eligibility.
Currently, high school students who transfer from one school to another must prove that a hardship forced the change in order to remain eligible for varsity athletics.
One exception was if a student's family moved into the new school's physical boundary.
Under the new rule, a student who'd never played at the varsity level could transfer to a new school and be eligible to play varsity competition. Also, full family moves are still an exception, although under the board rule, there is no requirement that the family move into the new school's boundary. The only requirement is that they move out of the old district's boundaries.
Opposition ranged from questioning the authority of the state board to do what it did to warning that loosening the transfer rules would create competitive imbalances that were detrimental to urban schools but devastating to rural schools.
"The plain mandate of the State Board is to administer academic education," Van Wagoner said. "Extracurricular activities are exactly that - extra."
The 149 schools that make up the UHSAA were nearly unanimous in their opposition to the new rules, and it's expected that many will send representatives to Thursday's public hearing.
Public comment will begin after the UHSAA makes a 20-minute presentation.
Written comment will be accepted until close of business Tuesday, Jan. 31, and can be sent to [email protected]
EMAIL: [email protected]
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