A Change Narrative

Here are five points to describe the essence of possible changes being processed by the Michigan High School Athletic Association for its transfer rule.
  1. We would move from a rule designed years ago for three-sport athletes to a rule that’s equally effective for regulating single-sport athletes.
  2. We would be treating all sports the same, regardless of season – fall, winter, spring. No longer would the transfer rule have a greater impact on winter sport athletes than fall or spring sport athletes.
  3. We would be getting out of the way of more “school of choice” parents who want to move a child from one school to another. If the student has not played a particular high school sport before, then eligibility is immediate in that sport . . . at any level, and without any MHSAA Executive Committee action.
  4. We would be causing students who have played a high school sport (and their parents) to pause before they transfer. They would miss the next season in that sport unless one of the 15 stated exceptions to the transfer rule applies. (There is significant sentiment that this apply only to students who have played previously at the varsity level – i.e., if the student has participated previously only at the subvarsity level in a sport, that student could transfer and remain eligible at the subvarsity level; but this would be allowed one time only.)
  5. We would make it even tougher on students (and their parents) to circumvent the athletic-motivated and athletic-related transfer rules by eliminating the automatic residency exception in those special cases. (This is the most hotly debated of the changes being considered.)

The theme is “get out of the way of the benign transfers and get still tougher on the really bad ones.”

Posted in: Transfers


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About the Author

Jack Roberts

Jack Roberts has been at the helm of the MHSAA as its Executive Director since 1986, implementing programs and overseeing tournament administration and regulations for the Association which boasts 1,500 member schools, 10,000 registered officials and 13,000 head coaches.

During the last 45 years, Roberts has spoken to educator and athletic groups, business leaders and civic groups in almost every state and five Canadian provinces. He is one of the nation's most articulate advocates for educational athletics.

Roberts has served on the board of directors of the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO), is in his second term on the board of the National Federation of State High School Associations, and is the first chairman of the NFHS Network board of directors. He has been board president for the Refugee Development Center for nine years, and is a past-chair of the board of directors of the Michigan Society of Association Executives. He is chair of the board of trustees for the Capital Region Community Foundation for 2018.

He is a 1970 graduate of Dartmouth College, where he played defensive safety for the Ivy League's winningest football team during that span, and he sang in Dartmouth's close harmony vocal group.

His wife, Peggy, has retired from a 30-year career in social services, and is serving as president of the board of the Fenner Nature Conservancy in Lansing.