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'12 Days of School Choice': The rules behind high school athletic transfers

posted Dec 26, 2019, 2:28 PM by Anthony Sandstrom   [ updated Dec 26, 2019, 4:47 PM ]

In an effort to inform District 60 parents and others about the school choice process, this is the sixth of 12 blog posts explaining the process and helping guide parents with helpful tips along the way. Open enrollment for the 2020-21 school year begins Jan. 13, 2020. 


By design, the school choice process is designed to be as simple and pain-free as possible. In a nutshell, school choice allows you to pick your child’s school, apply for enrollment, and essentially ride off into your educational sunset.


But if your child is currently a District 60 high school student that wishes to play sports at another District 60 school, there are transfer rules governed by the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) that you need to be aware of. It’s easy to overlook a detail or two, only to find that your child isn’t eligible to play sports at their new school. Knowing the facts are key.


Ponder your high school transfer carefully, or you can’t play

CHSAA classifies high school transfers in one of three categories:

  • School choice: A student simply chooses to change schools, without changing his/her home address

  • “Bona fide” transfer: A family that moves into another school’s boundaries

  • “Hardship” transfer: A student doesn’t move and wishes to change schools, but presents a valid reason to transfer that doesn’t have anything to do with athletics. Fill out a hardship waiver and CHSAA will decide if your child will retain their eligibility.


Here’s the easy rule of thumb: If you are a “bona fide” or “hardship” transfer, you can immediately play at your new school. If you simply change schools because of school choice, you will be ineligible for 365 days. 


So if your son played varsity football at one school his sophomore year, then simply wanted to attend another school through the school choice process, he will not be eligible to play football for his junior season.


Why so many rules?

High school sports is a big moneymaker for school budgets, and winning a state championship sometimes elevates entire communities and brings in fundraising dollars. As a result, some bad actors might game the system to build their team into a champion. Schools cannot “recruit” from other schools for the purpose of athletics, and if guilty schools are caught, their entire program could lose eligibility for a state championship. The transfer rules help eliminate any loopholes. 


Did we mention that there are ‘many rules’?

The simple breakdown above about the types of high school transfers don’t tell the whole story. The CHSAA bylaws (a 147-page document) spends 11 pages of “legalese” explaining the details of the transfer system. It’s not 147 pages, but it’s still heavy reading to understand. 


If you are going to transfer, contact your school’s activities director, and they will help. Or, look at the latest CHSAA bylaws yourself (https://www.scribd.com/document/439411003/2019-20-CHSAA-Bylaws#fullscreen&from_embed) and go to Article 18, starting on page 53. And get a cup of coffee and a notebook to parse through it.


If you have more questions, read one of the blog posts below or contact the District 60 School Choice team at (719) 253-6014 or schoolchoice@pueblocityschools.us


12 Days of School Choice
#2: How do I apply? (Dec. 26, 2019)
#12: How does the wait list work? (Jan. 5, 2020)
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