The Rock Hill School District Three recently passed new rules to discourage student transfers solely for athletic reasons. The Herald tackles the frequently asked questions surrounding the rules.
Under the rules, high school athletes in the school district who want to transfer solely for athletic reasons will now have to sit out a year. Odd transfers and reveal parties were among the reasons for the rules. The rules also tackle middle school recruitment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Answers are from Mychal Frost, spokesperson for Rock Hill schools.
Q: What if families honestly move?
A: If a student changes their address between eighth grade and 12th grade, it makes the student ineligible for athletics for 365 days. An appeal can be made to the committee to demonstrate that the change of address was legitimate. The Athletic Appeals Committee is made up of the three principals from Northwestern, Rock Hill and South Pointe high schools and the associate superintendent for athletics, Luanne Kokolis.
Q: How will the district handle students attending South Pointe High School as part of the school of choice Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) program?
A: Students attending an out-of-zone school for a choice program are not considered to be transfer students. Therefore, the student-athlete transfer rules do not apply. Transfers are only granted for hardships, but students attending a choice program have applied to a specific program.
Q: What about students who come from outside the Rock Hill school district?
A: There is a distinction between transferring and enrolling. When moving to the area, a student would be enrolling to attend school in Rock Hill. A transfer would be a move within the school district.
Q: With rules against middle school recruitment, what other ways can middle school students interact with their high school coaches?
A: During Ninth Grade Parent Night, middle school students visit the high school they are zoned to attend. All the students then are allowed to interact with teachers and high school students while learning about extracurricular activities and course selection. Information from high schools is shared with middle school athletic directors regarding tryout dates and coaches names and contact information. Students also can attend summer camps.
Q: Are there rules for students who transfer for academic reasons?
A: The Rock Hill school district doesn’t allow transfers for academic reasons. The transfer process exists to accommodate family hardships, including unforeseen catastrophes, parents’ divorce, homelessness and 12 other situations listed on page 11 of the bylaws in the SCHSL handbook.
Q: Do other school districts have similar rules?
A: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, which encompasses over 30 high schools, has almost the same rule that Rock Hill’s three high schools have enacted. North Carolina also uses a 365-day immediate athletics ineligibility for students transferring within what’s termed an “LEA”, or local education agency. In Georgia, students who transfer are eligible as long as their move is deemed a “bona fide transfer,” meaning their entire family unit moves to a new address in the proper attendance zone and maintain that address for at least a calendar year.
Q: Where can I get more information?
A: The Office of Student Services, a division of Planning and Program Support, manages student transfer requests and publishes on the district’s website the criteria and forms used for transfers.
Bret McCormick contributed to this article.
INTRADISTRICT TRANSFER RULE
▪ Any student who has an in-district transfer of address (any type change of address) during the second semester of the eighth grade through 12th grade year of school will result in ineligibility to participate in sports for 365 days from the date of the change of address.
▪ An appeal of eligibility may be made to the Athletic Appeals Committee within five days of ineligibility notification. The Appeals Committee is made up of the three principals from Northwestern, Rock Hill and South Pointe high schools, and the associate superintendent for athletics, Luanne Kokolis.
▪ High school coaches will no longer meet with middle school athletes in the spring of their eighth grade year. All athletic notices will be mailed to middle school students from the high school athletic offices.
▪ High school coaches attending middle school events will attend as spectators. High school coaches will not be permitted on the middle school event sidelines, in locker rooms or in team meeting spaces. High school coaches will not talk with middle school athletes or address middle school teams.
▪ No middle school student or rising ninth-grade student should try out for a high school team unless the student resides in the high school zone at the time of the tryout.
▪ No middle school student or rising ninth-grade student should practice with a team or work out with a team unless he/she resides in the high school zone at the time of the workout or practice.
▪ If a coach, assistant coach or volunteer coach is found to be recruiting, or utilizing others in the community to recruit, he/she will be subject to losing his/her coaching position.