Senate passes bill allowing high school athletes to transfer without sitting out a year

Updated: Feb. 1, 2023 at 4:56 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va (WDTV) - State lawmakers are looking at a bill that would allow high school athletes to transfer without having to miss playing time for doing so.

Senate Bill 262 would allow high school athletes to transfer schools one time without any consequences. Right now, if an athlete transfers, they lose a year of eligibility.

The bill zipped through Committee and passed the Senate.

Supporters say the current rules penalize students, especially since athletes who transfer from out of state aren’t required to sit out, but the idea isn’t popular with everyone.

Some worry this will create essentially a high school transfer portal.

John Kelley is the head football coach at University High and Region 11 Director of the West Virginia Coaches Association. He says this will create chaos for high school athletics.

“We are opposed to it for multiple reasons. First off, we are going to have a transfer portal at the high school level. All you have to do is look at the NCAA and see what a disaster that has been at all levels. Kids will be transferring for all the wrong reasons. You have to remember this is for academics, that is the purpose of school. There won’t be any loyalty to the community or school.”

Kelley worries many athletes could transfer to one school and create a power team.

Right now, students are allowed to go to any school before entering the 9th grade and can transfer back to their “home” school.

Kelley says many athletes today are already transferring and nothing is done about it, but with a negative comes a positive.

“There might be a program at one school that one school doesn’t offer. We still have equity in West Virginia. Some schools are more advanced than others as far as athletic opportunities and sports provided.”

Kelley says athletes will find ways to transfer whether the bill passes or not.

The bill is now in the hands of the House of Delegates.