CHAPEL HILL – The NC High School Athletic Association has made a key change concerning high school students who transfer. The association’s board of directors implemented a new rule saying that student who transfer with out a “legitimate address change” will be ineligible for athletics for one year.

But school systems will have the power to override the NCHSAA rules for transfers with in its own jurisdiction.

Scarlett Steinert is the Coordinator of Healthful Living and Athletics for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools.

“I think it’s a good rule of thumb that would cut out some of the gossip that’s out there about kids going to different school or different county to play a specific sport,” Steinert said.

Davis Whitfield, the NCHSAA commissioner, says the board will strictly enforce the rule, which passed earlier this month. He says in most, if not all cases, the board will make student transfers from an outside the LEA— or Local Education Agency— sit-out one full year if they can’t prove a valid change of address.

“I don’t think we have implanted this policy to then make exception for the policy,” Whitfield said.

The two school systems with in Orange County make-up an LEA.

Whitfield says that under the current release and acceptance practice—a student could request a release from their current LEA and if it’s granted, they can then apply for acceptance in another LEA. After both the release and acceptance are granted—the student can play athletics immediately for in their new school system. Now the student will have to prove a change of address as well to be able to play sports.

Whitfield says the need to a stricter policy became apparent when the NCHSAA saw a lot of questionable transferring happening across the state recently.

“I think our schools recognized that there’s quite a bit of movement not only with in an LEA but across an LEA,” Whitfield said. “Let’s remember, high school athletics are a privilege and not a right. Students have a right to an education. It’s every child’s right and every parent’s right for their child. But, we also have to make sure that we have the appropriate checks and balances are in place as it relates to the athletic participation piece.”

Steinert says transfers for athletic reasons are not allowed in the CHCCS system. However, a student may transfer for another reason and still play a sport.

In 2010-2011, 171 high school students transferred with in the CHCCS system according to the registrar’s office. In 2011-2012, 167 high students transferred, and then in ‘12-’13 so far—122 students.

The database is not able to distinguish whether or not those students played sports or the details regarding their address changes.

In ‘11-‘12, 395 new high school students transferred from outside the system.
In ‘12-’13, 367 high school students have transferred-in so far.

Steinert says the CHCCS high school athletic directors and principals are compiling a list of recommendations to the current system transfer policy.

“We’ll go to the CHCCS Board of Education and be tweaking that policy this summer as to what the rules and regulations are going to look like for the system,” said Steinert. “But this is really going to get us to look at what is and what is not a good reason for kids to transfer.”