Transfer series leftovers
Our recent four-part series explored the proposed 500-mile transfer rule that’s being heavily discussed with the Arizona Interscholastic Association, its various committees and boards and (to some degree) its member schools. Much remains murky and not everything fell into place in presenting these topics and issues to you, but feedback (firstname.lastname@example.org) and discussion is always welcome.
Not everything, of course, made it to our print and web stories, so in cleaning out the proverbial notebook, here are some interesting quotes, thoughts and other ramblings from a variety of coaches and administrators:
Tommy Brittain, Tempe Prep football coach: “I am in favor of the new rule because it attempts to reduce the inordinate number of athletes who transfer to a new high school in search of greener grass. While one can certainly sympathize with an athlete who finds himself or herself in a frustrating predicament, the attempt for athletes to ameliorate their perceived predicament by transferring to a different high school creates far more problems than it solves. Any attempt to reduce the number of transfers promotes the integrity of high school athletics. It reduces the temptation to illicitly recruit kids to one’s school. It compels students to learn to cope with the all but inevitable challenges that come with competitive athletics. It increases parity by making it difficult to jump to the latest thriving program. It promotes community by making a student more likely to remain within the school rather than switching schools at some point during the brief tenure of a high school career. “…Powerhouse programs might be good for revenue and tv contracts but it is certainly not advantageous for all the athletes who are not a part of the powerhouse program.”
Mike Campbell, Queen Creek baseball: “Not sure if it’s all about the number (50-mile radius)……..It seems to be mostly about making it more difficult for players to pack up and move down the street or around the corner for the wrong reasons. To me, it will make things tougher for players to do this, so I think it’s a step in the right direction. Something is better than nothing. If a player really wants to leave or be somewhere, they can still do it. However, this may deter a few that don’t want to ‘go through or around the red-tape.'”
George De La Torre, Dobson fooball coach: “I like the idea a lot because, it would help eliminate some of the problems and help maintain the integrity of high school athletics. Many schools are competing for kids and attracting those parents who feel entitled to greener pastures at any price. I am proud of Mesa schools’ football coaches who seem to believe that it is best for kids and the community to coach the kids that live in our boundaries. It’s been Mesa school district’s football coaches policy of integrity where we call each other when a new kid transfers or moves in from somewhere else. I had a Mesa High football coach call me about a prospect that moved into (Dobson’s) area but didn’t know where to go to school. (Mesa coach Kelley Moore) directed him to us and helped him make the phone call. We obviously need more of that. I think the 50-mile rule would be a smart move.”
Tyler Dumas, Dobson girls basketball: “I see this from people just from hosting summer league games. There are parents that have younger (seventh and eighth grade) kids watching teams play. They’re already trying to figure out where they’re going to send their kids. There have been some people that have made transfers and sat out a year. You’ll see that more. That decision will be made probably after their freshman year.”
Jason Grantham, Mesquite athletic director: ” I would hope that it would encourage parents to have their child stay at their ‘home’ school, but this rule will only hold the weight of the appeal or ‘hardship’ process. If a student can just go get a hardship approved like they can now, the ’50 Mile’ rule is useless. What may happen is that students and parents will just do more homework on the schools they might want to attend prior to attending school in 9th grade because the difficulty of possibly switching after that.”
Jeremy Hathcock, Desert Ridge football: “<span style="font-family: As long as something is done, it’s a good start. Just have something in print. It has to be in print. There’s always loopholes. Parents will find loopholes, coaches can find loopholes. I’ve had parents tell me when their kids become a varsity player they’ll move here or there."
Bob LaRue, Saguaro athletic director/boys basketball coach: “I believe it would create a more competitive playing field. It would also but the responsibility on the athletes and their families to do their research before selecting a school for their ninth-grader. It would tell them that they are pretty much choosing a school for their entire high school career, which is how it should be unless a family has to move for legitimate, non-athletic reasons.”
Stan Luketich, Desert Vista baseball coach: ‘Competitive balance and equity….’ The AIA put Maricopa High School in our division last year. Their coaches, as hard working and competitive as any, lost a large number of kids within their program (7 or 9 I think they told me), to Mountain Pointe. Maricopa’s coaches, formerly Corona del Sol players and coaches work their tail off to develop a good program but lost this large number of kids. At any school, especially a small school, this is devastating. Yet it is apparently within the rules. Does this create competitive balance and “equity” you are asking? Why can’t we as coaches take only the kids in our attendance area and be happy to coach them? If parents want to shop kids, there should be a penalty unless they make a permanent move.”
Ed Matlosz, Apache Junction softball coach: “If you live in a school district that is the school you play at. If you want to play at a ‘better school’ then move into the area and pay the taxes and overrides for that district. Case closed. I believe in having pride in your community and make it better and if you’re a player you will get noticed by colleges where ever you play. I guess I’m ‘old school’, but that is the way I grew up in the early 1980’s. We wanted to be the future of the high school and community where we grew up, and I know my program has been hit hard by this with top-of-the-line players going elsewhere since I have been coaching here. I believe a free-for-all is bad for all. Why not start giving scholarships to the best players and extra perks to their families like in the movie “Blue Chips”?
Dan Nero, Corona del Sol athletic director: “Transfer rules do need to exist since the old days of playing for your neighborhood school are well past. The AIA 520 form has been an improvement, and the hardship appeal process is more than fair. It’s very hard to get a feel for competitive balance or equity, but a ’50 mile’ rule would make families take a hard look at switching schools within that distance. We all hope families pick a school or neighborhood because it is the best fit for their children socially and academically, not just athletically.”
Nathan Sheppard, McClintock baseball coach: “Sitting out (a year) doesn’t mean what it used to because of club sports. They can still play and get the exposure they crave on their club teams.”
Brian Wieck, Fountain Hills baseball: “1. The 50 mile limit is to big it will do nothing for the valley as all the cities are closer than 50 miles. 2. There should be boundaries, and kids and parents should be locked into that area for the year where they started. 3. (Would a transfer rule affect the competitive landscape of sports such as football, basketball, baseball, softball, etc….)…..No, that has to do with what kids you have and coaching and playing at the right level, and just because of the population does not mean you are in the right division, there needs to be leagues head to head play. 4. You would hope the parent would be teaching there kid that just because life isn’t playing into your hand fully that you don’t jump ship and go to a new school? It starts at home with the parents. As a coach all you can do is put together a respected program and allow the kids to buy into it with hard work and commitment. You will never please 100 percent of the people 100 percent of the time. It is about getting 100 percent of the effort from kid and parent, if you have that winning is bound to happen at any school or level.”
Eddy Zubey, Higley football coach: “<span style="font-family: If you can go wherever you want, you start having coaches telling kids and parents what they want to hear to get that kid on the team, and then the kid might not play. I don’t think it’s good for the kid socially, beyond football. What does it teach the kid as a person when the going gets tough in life? At some point we have to deal with adversity in situations and how you deal with it is part of your makeup, and it wouldn’t foster that idea. The rich would get richer. It’s not the head coach 'recruiting' or doing the talking to young kids, it’s the assistants. Freshman passing league is like free agency. All the contact with passing league, combines, you’d be on guard all the time if your kid goes to the bathroom and starts talking to another coach about anything in the world. It’d be bad."
Dana Zupke, Pinnacle football coach: “I do believe transfer rules should exist; however, we have to recognize and understand that their will always be flaws and loopholes in any rules that are in place. This does not negate the need for a rule. If the rule eliminates a majority of the ‘shady’ transfers, then it’s a good thing.