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New policy set to curb school shopping
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Elementary basketball players who go school shopping could end up riding the pines for a year under a new school policy that give principals from both the student’s new and old elementary a say in if he or she is eligible to play.


“It’s been an issue for over 20 years,” said Irving College Principal and long-time coach Mike Mansfield who spoke before the Warren County board of education on the issue. “As a coach, a kid could get mad at me today and transfer to another school and play against me tomorrow.”


Mansfield expressed his concern in light of a plan by the school board to enact rules governing students who change elementary schools in the middle of a school year. During earlier discussions, the board found that some students were being denied the ability to play even though their transfers were legitimate. They planned to pass a policy where the new principal would have final power as to whether to allow them to play or not. However, Mansfield urged the board to include the principal from the old school also to avoid awkward situations involving students who have parents who shop them from school to school for their athletic abilities.


“It can be as simple as a parent not believing their child is getting enough playing time,” Mansfield said, noting a liberal policy allowing transfers during the year could lead to all out recruiting wars between schools. “If we open it up, this might become the wild west.”


The school board agreed with Mansfield’s concerns and elected to modify the new policy to include that permission to play for moving players be granted by both the old and new school principals. The board also added one more option. Should the student be denied getting to play, the student will be able to appeal before the Warren County Athletic Director who would have the final say.


“We don’t want kids penalized for trying to do the right thing,” said Director of Schools Bobby Cox, noting there are many legitimate reasons for changing schools during a school year. “By having both the old school and new school singing off, that gives us some checks and balances.”


The board also added a stipulation that if the student faced sitting out games at his or her old school for disciplinary purposes, that punishment would follow them to their new school squad.


The board unanimously approved the measure.