06

Transfer Rule Rationale

It is certain that the Michigan High School Athletic Association transfer rule is imperfect. However, whatever imperfections exist are effectively remedied through a process by which member school administrators may make application to the MHSAA Executive Committee to waive the rule if, in the committee’s opinion, the rule fails to serve any purpose for which it is intended or, in its sole discretion, the Executive Committee determines that application of the rule creates an undue hardship on the student. 

In a typical year, the Executive Committee will receive approximately 290 requests to waive the transfer regulation, approving approximately 60 percent of those requests.

The committee brings to its considerations the following rationale, most recently reviewed and reaffirmed on Aug. 2, 2017:

  1. The rule tends to insure equality of competition in that each school plays students who have been in that school and established their eligibility in that school.
  2. The rule tends to prevent students from "jumping" from one school to another.
  3. The rule prevents the "bumping" of students who have previously gained eligibility in a school system by persons coming from outside the school system.
  4. The rule tends to prevent interscholastic athletic recruiting.
  5. The rule tends to prevent or discourage dominance of one sport at one school with a successful program, i.e., the concentration of excellent baseball players at one school to the detriment of surrounding schools through transfers and to the detriment of the natural school population and ability mix.
  6. The rule tends to create and maintain stability in that age group, i.e., it promotes team stability and teamwork expectation fulfillment.
  7. The rule is designed to discourage parents from "school shopping" for athletic purposes.
  8. The rule is consistent with educational philosophy of going to school for academics first and athletics second.
  9. It eliminates family financial status from becoming a factor on eligibility, thus making a uniform rule for all students across the state of Michigan (i.e., tuition and millage considerations).
  10. It tends to encourage competition between nonpublic and public schools, rather than discourage that competition.
  11. It tends to reduce friction or threat of students changing schools because of problems they may have created or because of their misconduct, etc.
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.