A new rule governing Arizona high school sports could make moves within a general metro area much harder on families of top prep athletes if it is adopted.
As reported by the East Valley Tribune, the Arizona Interscholastic Association is expected to vote on a provision that would force any students who transfer to a school within 50 miles of their past school to sit out a full year of athletic participation.
The initiative, which can be overruled by a successful application for a hardship appeal, is aimed at limiting transfers made to improve a student's athletic lot. Similar regulations already exist in a handful of other states, including Ohio, but there is significant question over why efforts to limit transfer manipulation are focusing on oversight of student athletes as opposed to coaches, who bear significant responsibility for athletes switching schools at the drop of a hat themselves.
"Every state goes through this evolution -- back off [amount of rules], get tougher, back off -- but the bottom line is to help prevent a school losing a good player for seemingly no reason at all," AIA Executive Dirrector Harold Slemmer told the Tribune. "There's a cycle to all this and it's about trying to keep up with the ebb-and-flow of Arizona high school sports.
"That's part of the philosophy behind these new rule ideas: Have some loyalty and don't go running to an apartment five miles down the road just to circumvent rules."
For the time being, some Arizona coaches are stepping forward to provide tepid support of a measure which may or may not help maintain a level playing field for a variety of schools, regardless of their historic success.
"As long as something is done, it's a good start," Desert Ridge football coach Jeremy Hathcock told the Tribune. "Just have something in print. It has to be in print. It'll stop some in-fighting among coaches. No coach wants to be the one who'll blow the whistle on another."