Taking Our Half in the Middle
September 22, 2015
When there is a rule that is as frequently criticized for being too weak as for being too harsh, it’s likely the rule is just about right.
For every administrator and coach who complains that the transfer rule misses a situation where there is no question the student transferred for sports participation, there are as many administrators and coaches – and many times more parents – who plead for leniency under the transfer rule.
For every congested community in Michigan that offers students multiple school options, and some of those who participate in interscholastic athletics shop for the situation that best fits their needs or desires, there are many more communities in Michigan where few options exist, and transfers by student-athletes are both low in number and logical in nature.
For every call for a mandatory year-long, no-exceptions period of ineligibility to penalize athletic-motivated transfers, there are dozens of transfers by low-level, low-profile student athletes who do not deserve such draconian consequences.
For every statewide high school association in the U.S. that has a tougher transfer rule than Michigan, there are as many that have a weaker transfer rule; or, they have no rule at all because the state’s legislature intervened, usurped the association’s authority and overturned its over-reaching regulation.
The MHSAA transfer rule is not perfect and likely never will be, which is why it is among the two most reviewed and revised rules of the MHSAA Handbook. But the MHSAA transfer rule is on the right path. A dramatic detour will serve school sports badly.
What most negatively affects the administration of the existing transfer rule is the reluctance of administrators and coaches to report directly the violations they observe personally. If these people won’t do their part, they have no right to critique the rule or to criticize the rule makers.