McCabe: Does sitting out solve prep sports transfer problem? – Detroit Free Press
Steven Charles Jr. transferred from Warren Cousino in January and expected to play football at Clinton Township Chippewa Valley this fall because he sat out one semester.
After Charles Jr. transferred, his father called Cousino coach Brad Nettles and left a voice message.
“As a courtesy call — I’d always talked to coach Nettles before — I just wanted to let him know that it wasn’t nothing to do with him,” Charles Sr. said. “On the call I did mention that the school was in the MAC Red, and I was excited about that. I was excited that the school we were taking him to had a good athletic standing and also has a great academic standing as well.”
He might have spent a big more time talking about the MAC Red than he let on, because Nettles saved the voice message.
“He took that voice message,” Charles Sr. said, “and sent it to the MHSAA and said we left for sports reasons.”
The Michigan High School Athletic Association has a rule that states that athletically motived transfers must sit out 180 school days — unless the transfer meets one of the exceptions, like changing residences.
Nettles said he checked with his athletic director and took appropriate action.
“I don’t want to be involved in this,” Nettles said. “We followed the Michigan high school state rule.”
When the transcript of the voice message reached MHSAA executive director Jack Roberts’ desk, it became a slam-dunk decision to make Charles Jr. sit out longer than one semester.
“By the dad’s words, it was clearly an athletically motivated transfer,” Roberts said. “It’s not often that I have evidence as strong as that.”
However, Charles Sr. is upset because he sees players transferring at an astounding rate and wonders why his son is the one sitting out.
“King’s got 12 kids from all over — top-notch athletes,” he said. “And my son is the one who’s being punished?”
Detroit King has had an abnormal number of transfers lately. Last week, Roberts said he had just finished reviewing reports on five of the recent transfers.
“It appears to me, under the transfer rule, the five I looked at today are going to be eligible,” he said. “They either transferred before the fourth Friday (of their school’s second semester) and they’ve sat out a semester, or they have changed their residence and therefore would be immediately eligible.”
But sitting out one semester might not be the answer to the transfer problem and, believe me, it is a problem of epic proportion.
Most transfers today are athletically motivated and should require two semesters of nonparticipation. The MHSAA’s athletically motivated transfer rule, which requires a school to report an illegal transfer, was such a failure that it added an athletically related transfer rule.
“If they are athletic-motivated, we have to have an allegation,” Roberts said. “With athletically related, we don’t have to have an allegation if we find the link with a coach or a trainer or an open gym or one of those things. That’s why we have that new rule to help us get at some things where schools are afraid to allege.”
With all the kids transferring now and sitting out only one semester, that rule doesn’t seem to be working, either.
In January, four football players left Ypsilanti Lincoln and enrolled at Belleville. Are we to believe they liked the chemistry classes at Belleville better than the ones at Lincoln?
A week before practice began, two two-way starters left Farmington Hills Harrison and, after allegedly changing residences, enrolled at Southfield.
Maybe it was Southfield’s math classes that attracted them.