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Transfer Eligibility Review
General Information for Students and Parents

The MSHSL understands that varsity eligibility is important to you. Below are some frequently asked questions regarding transfer eligibility. The information contained herein is not a bylaw or policy and is intended only to provide an overview of the transfer eligibility process. For the most current version of Bylaw 111 and MSHSL policies, please visit www.mshsl.org. Before transferring schools, please review the following so that you will understand the transfer’s impact on your varsity eligibility.

1.What is a transfer?

A transfer student is a student who discontinues enrollment and attendance in any high school, public or non-public, and enrolls in any other high school in Minnesota, or outside of Minnesota. Essentially, a transfer occurs anytime a student’s school of record changes. A transfer is considered complete when the student attends class or participates with an athletic program at the new school. This includes home schools, charter schools, and online schools.
2.If I transfer to a new high school, will I be eligible for varsity competition?

If you transfer to a new high school, you will be eligible for varsity athletic competition if:
1.You are enrolling in 9th grade for the first time;
2.Your entire family moves to a new residence in a different attendance area;
3.Your residence is changed pursuant to a court order;
4.Your parents are divorced and you move from one parent to another.
(This option may be used just one time after you enroll in 9th grade); or
5.You and your family have moved to Minnesota from another state or country.
If none of the above apply, you will be ineligible (for one calendar year from the date of the transfer) from participating in interscholastic varsity athletic competition. You will, however, be eligible to participate in varsity tryouts, practices, scrimmages, jamborees, etc., and non-varsity (JV, B-squad, etc.) competitions. You will not be eligible for varsity competition.
3.What happens if none of the five provisions above apply and I am determined ineligible?

If none of the five provisions set forth above apply and you are determined ineligible, you can request that the MSHSL review the determination of ineligibility. There are seven circumstances with which you can request a review:
1.You are transferred to a new high school within the same school district;
2.A change in family circumstances such as adoption, abandonment, or death of a parent.
3.A substantial negative change in your family’s economic status. For example, if one or both parent(s) loses their job or other means of income.
4.School student Bullying or Harassment as identified in Minnesota State Statutes 121A.03 and 121A.031.
5.Administrative error. For example, the receiving school misapplied MSHSL bylaws or policies.
6.You have completed a licensed program for chemical dependency or mental illness (provided all other eligibility rules are followed) and the receiving school will better serve the student’s needs.
The principals and activities directors from both the sending and receiving school agree that varsity competition eligibility should be considered.
4.How do I request a Transfer Eligibility Review?

When you enrolled at your new school [receiving school] and indicated an interest in participating in athletics, the school compiled information and submitted a student transfer report to the MSHSL. The transfer report contains general information on your previous school(s) and the reason for your transfer. Based on this information, the receiving school makes aninitial eligibility determination. That determination is sent to the MSHSL for review to ensure compliance with MSHSL bylaws and policies.

If you are determined ineligible, you can request further review by the MSHSL. Visit with the athletic director at the Receiving School and request a Transfer Eligibility Review. The athletic director will submit the request and supporting documentation to the League for review.

All denied Transfer Eligibility Review requests for varsity competition eligibility will be reviewed by the MSHSL Board of Directors Eligibility Committee for further review or referral to an Independent Reviewer. Ultimately, the final decisions on eligibility will be made by the MSHSL Board of Directors.
5.What types of information and documentation should I provide in support of my request for a Transfer Eligibility Review?

You should provide a written explanation and documentation supporting your request for review. This is your opportunity to support your request for eligibility so please submit whatever relevant documentation/information you have. Below are common types of documentation the MSHSL looks for under each of the seven review options:
1. Internal district policies (for transfers in districts with multiple high schools)
  • The district policy or policies that precipitated the transfer
  • Correspondence from the school district describing the circumstances of the transfer
    2. Adoption, abandonment, or death of a parent
  • Adoption Decree, death certifi cate, CHIPS order
    3. Substantial negative change in the economic status
  • The MSHSL typically considers three years of tax returns showing a negative change in the Adjusted Gross Income.
  • You are encouraged to submit any other documentation showing a negative change in economic status. For example, employer notification indicating the recent loss of income or loss of employment, disability determinations from a medical professional or government agency that indicate a reduction in the ability to be employed.
  • NOTE: Discretionary spending decisions will generally not be considered to be a negative change in economic status.
    4. School Bullying/Harassment
  • Documentation that a complaint was made under the district policy prior to the transfer
  • A report from the sending school that it has investigated and determined a case of bullying or harassment pursuant to Minnesota Statute 121A.03 and 121A.031.
  • Any other documentation of bullying or harassment at the sending school
    5. Administrative Error
  • Documentation from a school administrator explaining the error or errors made in the initial eligibility determination.
    6. Completion of a licensed program for treatment of alcohol or substance abuse, mental illness or emotional disturbance provided all other eligibility rules are followed.
  • Documentation from the director of the treatment facility/provider showing completion of a licensed program by the student
  • Documentation to show the receiving school provides specific aftercare for the student.
    7. School Administrators request for review
  • The administrators from both schools agree varsity competition eligibility should be considered for the student. This Transfer Eligibility Review provision is applicable only for students who transfer from one MSHSL member school to another MSHSL member school.
  • The written request from the administrators at both the receiving school and sending school should include all documents they believe support eligibility.
  • This provision requires certifi cation from both schools confirming no recruitment or inappropriate contact has occured.
    Read More
    Winter Bulletin
    The Winter 2018 edition of the MSHSL's Bulletin is here for your reading enjoyment. In this edition, we feature the legacy of Dave Stead, who is stepping down after serving as the League's executive director. He is the longest-serving executive director in the 101-year history of the League. Also in this edition is a salute to 25 years of Adapted Athletics.
    We hope you enjoy this edition of the Bulletin.


    Posted by John Millea(jmillea@mshsl.org)- Updated 1/17/2018 5:40:45 PM

    The story below is very important, and it has become a hot topic in Minnesota and beyond via social media (including the MSHSL Facebook page, with more 56,000 views as of this posting). Written by Jeremy Millsop of the Brainerd Dispatch, the story details issues with parents that Brainerd boys basketball coach Scott Stanfield -- a former police officer -- cited as the reason he chose to resign at the end of the season.

    By Jeremy Millsop
    Brainerd Dispatch

    Brainerd Warriors head boys basketball coach Scott Stanfield is a retired police officer, and with one comment may have summarized the feelings of many high school coaches across the state.

    "I go from being a cop to this, and it's one stressful job to another and it's time for a break," Stanfield said. "Coaching was worse. Coaching has been way worse.

    "If you win, it doesn't matter. If you lose, it doesn't matter. If their kid doesn't get enough playing time—look out."

    Stanfield's frustrations are nothing new in the high school sports world. For the man in his seventh season as the Warriors' head coach, and 22nd season coaching in the program, those frustrations reached a climax.

    At the end of last week, Brainerd High School activities director Charlie Campbell sent out a letter explaining this would be Stanfield's last year. Stanfield and his entire coaching staff will resign following this season.

    The reason—some parents.

    According to the letter: "It is hard for any of our coaches, including coach Stanfield, to find joy in this vocation when met with a general dissatisfaction, anger and/or hostility from an increasing number of parents."

    Stanfield said it started last year and has spilled over into this season.

    "It was after an away game, and over the year it just kind of hit a boiling point, and it was time to re-evaluate what we're doing as a school, maybe as a staff, and maybe as a parental community," Stanfield said. "We're not on the same page as far as what we want our kids to get out of the experience. A lot of times with high school sports, we're running two different roads with the AAU ball and the school ball.

    "Unfortunately, one side wants things done one way and the other wants it the correct way, which is about educating our kids for life beyond a sport. That's what we've tried to do."

    Stanfield stressed it was just some parents, and the majority of parents he's dealt with have been great.

    He said despite his many years in the program, and his immense pride in helping student athletes become better in their sport, the decision wasn't hard.

    "The difficult part was with the kids coming back next year," Stanfield said. "The difficult part was telling them that, physically and emotionally, I'm drained. I need to look at things and take care of myself and ... maybe be involved somewhere else."

    In his first six seasons, Stanfield accumulated a 99-66 career record, including his second season, which resulted in a 28-2 record and a spot in the Class 4A state tournament.

    Brainerd suffered only two losing seasons in Stanfield's tenure, including last year's 11-16 mark.

    "On the basketball side, I think we changed the culture player-wise," Stanfield said. "Unfortunately, the parental culture the last couple of years hasn't come with us and that's been very difficult.

    "I want to make sure I say that the backing of the majority of the parents is real. They are behind me 100 percent. Over the last week, I've felt that from parents whose kids I coached in the past to this year's parents. The bulk of the parents are very supportive. It's just kind of a group over the last couple of years that have weighed on my mind.

    "As far as playing time for a kid, it's a battle and it's unfortunate that in basketball you can't play more kids."

    Campbell said he's taking this resignation personally. He likes that his programs haven't seen much coaching turnover, but when something like this occurs it is frustrating and creates a time for self-evaluation.

    "The hardest part for me is just the sense of professional failure that in some ways I have failed to create an environment where coaches want to take part in," Campbell said. "I know this is one coach and his staff so I need to be careful, but it's really a personal thing. What could I have done differently? What should I be doing to create an environment that is more conducive to keeping people?

    "If this doesn't beg those questions, then I wouldn't be doing well in my position."

    Stanfield said he's talked to coaching friends and many feel his frustrations. This is a problem across the country, however, and the answer is elusive.

    "I don't know what it will take, but unfortunately, I think it starts at a very young age," Stanfield said. "Parents feel invested once they pay their way through the AAU experience and the travel experience. They have a lot of time and money invested in that. When the kids reach high school, and they become varsity players no matter what grade—you're basically bringing ninth- through 12th-grade players together—all four classes together and when they see their investment in time and money not paying off, I think they get a little upset. They see it as wasted time, when in fact, if they could take a step back and look at school-based athletics and the great things a kid can get out of it."

    Campbell is hoping to change the narrative and to better educate players and parents about what high school sports are for.

    "Over the course of this school year we have really identified some core values for our department that we want to be the focal point of our programs," Campbell said. "We are going to hone in on these core values and we need to talk about this more often. We need to talk to kids about it with greater frequency. We need to talk to our parent groups with greater frequency. I need to get in front of our school board and talk to them and our administrative teams across the district about these core values and what are teams are doing for kids beyond the sport itself.

    "Sports are our platform, but we are an extension of the classroom. I don't think we say that enough. This is part of a growing-up process."

    After a 5-1 start, Brainerd is suffering through a five-game losing streak. There are 15 games left on the schedule and Stanfield said he's all in for those 15 games. He believes his players are as well.

    "I gave it everything I got," Stanfield said. "This year, we're not done. The kids know that and I know that. We're going to keep fighting, but I haven't felt good for a month because of it.

    "It's just not worth it. If this can help bring some attention to the fact that something needs to change, then it's worth it, but the vast majority of parents are very supportive."

    More of John's Journal
    Why We Play
    Home Page Photo As AD at Hibbing High School, I'm fortunate to have the opportunity to work with many transformational leaders. This year, we committed to showing up for our student-athletes every day through Why We Play. Here's how Hibbing High School's education-based athletics work is helping our students grow and live with purpose.

    First, there's the Leadership Council, which consists of 23 10th through 12th graders who were nominated by their coaches and teachers to take part in Why We Play—an initiative to promote the educational purpose of sports in Minnesota. Before the start of the school year, I met with the kids during a two-hour Leadership Council kickoff where we discussed playing with purpose, and we worked on constructing our transformational purpose statements. I gave the kids two weeks to work on their purpose, fill out their transformational purpose statement worksheet, and meet with me individually to share their purpose.

    Then, at our next meeting, we shared and created our Purpose Wall to display our statements. This wall is located next to my office, and it's been neat to see all of the different students stopping to read what our Leadership Council believes in. Our next step is to take our purpose to our teams and work with the rest of our student-athletes to create a team purpose. The team purposes, as well as each individual coach's purpose, will be put up on the wall next.

    From my viewpoint, I've seen growth and maturity stemming from the Leadership Council in how the students are dealing with issues arising on their teams. I've been teaching them to speak out for the good—even if it's going against the norm—and all of the coaches and teachers, as well as administrators, have seen a positive change in school culture. I will continue to work with our student-athletes and am expanding into the second group of 7th through 9th-grade leaders, so we can start to implement this program at an even younger age.

    Here's our Leadership Council's collective statement: "As the Leadership Council at Hibbing High School, we strive to better the student community be working hard, competing at the highest level, and committing ourselves to our fullest potential. It is our responsibility to represent our school in a kind and respectful manner."

    And our coaches' collective statement: "The Bluejacket Athletic Department strives to be authentic examples of commitment, integrity, respect, and reliability as we instill those values in our programs."

    Why We Play has made sudden and positive impacts here at Hibbing High School, and I'm so honored to be a part of the MSHSL InSideOut Team Cohort this year. Here at Hibbing High School, we are expanding our educational-based athletic initiatives with a total buy-in from all coaches, and it's making a difference with our students. I can't wait to see how the rest of the year progresses!

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