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Two students transfer out of Clawson to Waterford Mott, ruled ineligible for entire junior year

By: Tom Markowski, May 3, 2017, 1:36 pm

Waterford – Those who don’t believe the Michigan High School Athletic Association doesn’t do enough to deter athletically motivated transfers or to punish those who do not abide by these rules should take note of a recent MHSAA ruling.

Two students, both of whom are sophomores and had attended Clawson High, transferred to Waterford Mott in March. Clawson administrators filed a complaint with the MHSAA stating that the transfers were athletically motivated. The MHSAA informed those at Mott of the complaint and the result was that Clawson administrators responded with a rebuttal to the response given by those at Mott.

The result was that Jack Roberts, Executive Director of the MHSAA, made the decision that the transfers were athletically motivated.

Those punished were the two students, not Mott nor anyone else. The MHSAA did not find evidence of undue influence and therefore did not punish anyone at Mott, coaches or otherwise.

And the punishment is harsh. The two students, who participated in basketball and football at Clawson, are ineligible, effective Aug. 1, 2017, for 180 school days. What this means is that both students will be ineligible for their entire junior year of school. In essence, by transferring, they will only be eligible for one school year, one season of football and one season of basketball.

One must wonder why someone, who obviously has the desire to play sports, would transfer, under these circumstances, and not be able to compete their junior year?

Whatever your opinion on this, don’t blame the MHSAA. It appears the blame lies with those adults who convinced these students to transfer.

Time and time again coaches and administrators claim the MHSAA is blind when it comes to such matters. It is not. If you think otherwise, talk with people like Nate Hampton and Tom Rashid, assistant directors for the MHSAA, and asked them about such matters and how, in some cases, their hands are tied.

Here’s the bottom line. If you are a coach or an administrator and suspect that a student or students are transferring out of your school for athletic reasons, file a complaint with the MHSAA. If you don’t complain the MHSAA is helpless.

Many times coaches are aware of athletes they coach who transfer to another school because of a lack of playing time, or they are unhappy with the system being run or they say they are not being look at, i.e., recruited as well as they think they should be, and leave. And many times the coach does nothing.

And in many cases the reason that the coach doesn’t do anything is because he or she doesn’t wish to impede the student and his or her desire to play for another school. In some cases this is understandable for a number of reasons.

The reason why these two students received such punishment is that those at Clawson cried foul.

If you notice schools that receive a number of transfers, and many times it’s the same schools year after year, and complain that those schools are to blame, in some cases they are not to blame. In the case of undue influence, yes, they are to blame but many times the fault lies with the school that these students are leaving that are not standing up and complaining.