VHSL Proposes Rule to Limit Postseason Transfers

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Richmond Times Dispatch (Virginia)


VHSL wants to limit postseason transfers

The Virginia High School League has proposed legislation that would restrict a student athlete from transferring to schools during the postseason and continuing to play.

The proposal comes about a month after a Chesapeake football player transferred during the playoffs and kept playing. Junior Bri'Quan Harrell played quarterback at Western Branch High School during the 2017 season. After Western Branch's season ended, he transferred to Oscar Smith days before the Class 6 state semifinals and joined the team.

Because Harrell moved into Oscar Smith's zone, he was immediately eligible. He played in the state semifinals, and Oscar Smith defeated Colonial Forge. Smith lost the following week to Westfield in the Class 6 state championship game.

While the VHSL ruled Harrell eligible at the time, a league spokesman noted that the situation was unprecedented and that it had sparked discussion in the league office.

If the new rule is approved, once a team's regular season has ended, any player from that team who moves to another school is ineligible for the playoffs in that sport. Had the rule been in effect, Harrell would have been ineligible to play at Oscar Smith.

Baseball, softball slates could rise to 30 games

The VHSL also is proposing legislation that would expand baseball and softball seasons from 20 to 30 regular-season games.

Other nearby states allow more than 20 games: Tennessee allows 30, West Virginia 32 and Kentucky 36. Maryland is the only nearby state that allows fewer (18). Most VHSL teams play between 75 percent and 83 percent of a college season. High school football teams play 10 games, while college teams play 12.

But baseball and softball teams play just 35 percent of a college season.

The league put a caveat on how the extra games would be played. Ten games would have to be played as part of five doubleheaders to be played on Saturdays.

One benefit of expanding the season, the league said, is allowing teams the opportunity to develop pitchers and expand their staffs and reduce injury from overuse. Douglas Freeman coach Ray Moore said he welcomed idea of playing more games and getting more pitchers on the mound.

"Ultimately, it could be a really good thing for high school baseball in the state of Virginia," he said.

Baseball is meant to be played often with different pitchers on the mound, he added. This rule would bring high school baseball closer to the essence of the game.


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January 15, 2018


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