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School Board changes athletic eligibility rule
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Elementary students will now be eligible to play athletics even if they transfer to another school in the middle of the school year, provided the measure passes on second read before the Board of Education.
Under the former rule, a student in fifth or sixth grade entering another school after Sept. 30 would have likely been ineligible to play ball at that school under the old rule.
“It was put in place to maintain integrity with the system and stop school hopping,” said Director of Schools Bobby Cox of the old rule that governed the Warren County Elementary Athletic Commission.
Cox noted there were issues of a child’s parents deciding they wanted their child to play for another county school when it came to sports like basketball and that they would sometimes go to the length of changing schools. Parents may place their child in any school in the county even if it isn’t their assigned school district as long as there is room at the school and the parents provides transportation to the school if no transportation exists.
At issue before the School Board was some students were having to sit out a year of athletics just because they moved or changed schools during the school year. The Board of Education agreed that is not fair to the student as they were being denied athletics due to an untimely transfer.
“If they want to play, let them play,” said School Board member Scott Holmes, noting they are elementary children. “Just because they change schools, it shouldn’t prevent them from playing ball.”
The agreement was reached that the one-year ban would be lifted for those who transfer during the school year. However, as a safeguard against school hopping and recruiting players, the final say on whether a child would be able to play on the school team will be made by the principal at the new school.
“They will be allowed to play upon principal discretion,” Cox clarified before putting the measure to a vote.
School Board members suggested the policy be made system-wide for all grades. The measure passed unanimously on first read.