Some Kansas athletes looking to transfer to play this fall, but state rules trump


OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — With the high school fall sports season in limbo for many Kansas athletes, some parents are scrambling to find schools where games are still in action.

“The last couple of weeks, we’ve had several — I would say, four, five, six — parents wanting to transfer their sons specifically to play football or their daughter to play sports,” Saint Thomas Aquinas Director of Admissions Diane Pyle said.

The Kansas State High School Activities Association has a rule that prevents students from transferring schools and playing a varsity sports right away.

Guidelines say student-athletes must attend the school at least a year before they’re eligible. 

“There are a lot of families that are disappointed,” Pyle said. “Certainly if you have a senior wanting to play boy’s soccer or football this season and they can’t do that, they’re going to be upset. It’s unfortunate, but we have to go by the rules.”

KSHSAA officials said they’ve considered amending this transfer rule just for this year because of COVID. But ultimately the organization said the rule is there to protect schools.

“Those discussions have taken place, but it always comes back to the fundamental reason for the transfer rule is to protect kids rather than prohibit,” KSHSAA Assistant Executive Director Jeremy Holaday said.

KSHSAA does have a hardship rule on the books. It applies to transfer students who go to another school for “unforseen, unavoidable or unusual circumstances” and don’t have to sit the season out.

Some schools around the Sunflower State don’t think COVID-19 hardships should be considered.

“We get a lot of directive from our schools. We are a membership association. We have not heard from schools that are supporting the fact that this is a hardship case if a student were to transfer,” Holaday said. 

Transfer students may not get to suit up for a new school this year. But officials are looking at different options.

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