Brush Up on the New Transfer Rule

July 18, 2019

By Rob Kaminski
MHSAA benchmarks editor

Eligibility under the new “sport-specific” transfer rule begins this coming fall after circulating extensively for nearly one school year.

Unless one of the stated 15 exceptions is met, participation during the 2018-19 school year determines eligibility for 2019-20.

The new rule adopted by the Representative Council at its May 2018 meeting has found support among most audiences. A transfer student’s eligibility in 2019-20 is based upon that student’s participation from this past school year (2018-19). It will be paramount for administrators and coaches to have awareness of the sports a transfer student participated in during the previous school year.

The long-standing 15 Exceptions to immediate eligibility, such as a full and complete residential change or a student moving between divorced parents by completing of an Educational Transfer Form, did not change.

One might call the rule on the way out “The Fourth-Friday Transfer Rule.” Under this old rule, when a student enrolled at the new school determined his or her eligibility. Under the new Sport Specific Transfer rule, what a student played in the previous season determines eligibility.

The Council passed a more lenient rule on the one hand and more restrictive on the other. The more lenient aspect is a change that finds a transfer student ELIGIBLE in any sport in which he or she did not participate in a game or a scrimmage in the previous school year.

The more restrictive portion tends to discourage students who change schools for sports reasons. A transfer student who did play a sport in the previous season – and who does not meet one of the 15 Exceptions – is NOT ELIGIBLE in that sport for the next season. If a student changes schools in mid-season, the student would be ineligible for the rest of that season in that sport and the next season for that sport.

Participation under this and other rules means playing in an interscholastic game or scrimmage after starting the 9th grade at any high school. It does not mean practice, but entering an interscholastic game, meet or scrimmage in any way. It also may involve more than one sport, so a three-sport athlete who does not have a residential change and transfers would be ineligible in those sports during the next school year – but eligible for any other sport. It also means a student cut from a team – one who never entered a scrimmage or game – may transfer and play without delay for that new school’s team. It may also mean that a student who meets one of the stated exceptions such as a residential change but enrolls in a school other than her or his school of residence, would have eligibility in sports not played in the previous year.

The new rule will tend to discourage students from changing schools for sports because they would be ineligible in any sport they have played in school the previous season for that sport. It will increase participation for some students who were otherwise not eligible under the current rule.

It is always best to contact school athletic directors who can connect with the MHSAA to verify eligibility prior to enrollment.

If the student’s new school requests in writing, the MHSAA Executive Committee may approve a waiver that reduces the period of ineligibility to 90 scheduled school days at the new school if the change of schools was for compelling reasons demonstrated with outside documentation having nothing to do with sports, curriculum, finances, and school demographics. The Executives Committee also has authority to approve immediate eligibility.

MHSAA, MHSFCA to Provide Spring Evaluation Camps for College Football Hopefuls

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

March 27, 2023

The Michigan High School Athletic Association, in partnership with the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA), will be hosting first-ever Spring Evaluation Camps to provide athletes with aspirations of playing college football opportunities to show their skills and abilities to college coaches at one of five locations.

The one-day camps will take place between May 15-18 at Jenison High School, DeWitt High School, Jackson High School, Brighton High School and Detroit Country Day High School. The MHSAA’s involvement will allow for the opportunity for Division I college coaches to attend, and representatives from college football programs at all levels are expected.

Athletes who will be juniors or seniors in Fall 2023 may register to participate via a link on the Football page.

“This is an attempt by the MHSAA to help our athletes get exposure during the spring evaluation period in a way that does not intrude on spring sports,” said Brad Bush, an MHSAA assistant director and past high school and college football coach. “We are working with the MHSFCA to help put together a first-class experience for the athletes and college coaches.”

Cost is $20 per player, and each registrant will receive a shirt to wear based on the athlete’s graduation year and registration number so college coaches in attendance can monitor their camp performance. College coaches also will receive registration information for each athlete in attendance.

All athletes must have a coach from the athlete’s school staff present at the camp, and that coach must be a member of the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association.

MHSFCA executive director Andrew Pratley called the Spring Evaluation Camps a tremendous opportunity for high school athletes in Michigan.

“We are very excited with the partnership with the MHSAA that allows our kids the opportunity to wear a helmet and do drills in front of college coaches in the spring at a minimal cost,” Pratley said. “College coaches are thrilled, and it's a unique opportunity to have the rules waived by the MHSAA at these events only in order to showcase the tremendous talent all over the great state of Michigan.”

The Michigan High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA) has been devoted to the promotion of high school football since its inception in March 1972. The MHSFCA has more than 2,500 members and provides several educational and development opportunities for members and their athletes, including an annual coaching clinic, an annual leadership conference for coaches and potential team captains, and the annual summer East-West All-Star Game for graduated seniors. Additionally, the MHSFCA’s Leadership Development Alliance is in its third year of training coaches and offering veteran members of the association as mentors.

The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,500 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract more than 1.3 million spectators each year.