PREP Voices : Athletes Will Be Able to Play Out Their Options : ON CAMPUS

Prep Voices was compiled by Prep Sports Editor Bob Rohwer and staff writer Martin Henderson

Although State CIF laws prohibit high schools recruiting students, the passage of two California Assembly bills will create something akin to high school free agency.

By July, 1994, students statewide will be able to transfer without changing residences.

Assembly Bill 1114 requires public school districts to develop open enrollment policies by July. AB 19 permits local school boards to determine how many outside students they will accept, if any, and stipulates that transfers must be chosen at random.

Gov. Pete Wilson and AB 1114's author, Charles W. Quackenbush (R-San Jose), expect a new trend in California schools: specialization. Schools will encourage development in certain subjects such as math and science, fine arts and vocational education.

But such laws will also allow athletes to move from a school with, say, a poor basketball program to one with a good one under the guise of education.

Students will no longer be required to go to their neighborhood school and could instead go across town with ease. With a little more work, and little explanation, they could attend a school in another district.

A second-string point guard at Los Alamitos, for example, could attend Edison, where he might have a chance to start. That's a plausible scenario. That's free agency.

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Q: Should high school students be allowed to transfer from one school to another primarily for the purpose of playing sports?

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"Absolutely not. First of all, where is school pride? How can a guy transfer from Fountain Valley to Edison and look at himself in the mirror? Edison's their big rival. How can they do that? How can teams set their rosters knowing that running back X might be with us today, but next week he might be playing for the arch-rival? No sense of school pride. Absolutely not. We go to school for academic reasons, not athletic reasons. I realize athletic teams are around, but. . . . Absolutely not. Stay in your school." Erik Schuman Fountain Valley, Class of '82

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"Yes, I do think kids should be able to transfer for sports, because some schools are better in some sports than others and if you can be to school on time and keep up your grades, you should be able to go to whatever school you want and play for its teams." Amber Pierce, Katella sophomore

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"No. I don't think that should be their main goal and objective in life. An education is what will get them through and they can only play sports for so long. We all get old and tired and there comes along a better player who puts us on the bench. Once we get done with sports, the education is what will pay our bills." Jane Wilson Lakewood Los Alamitos, Class of '65

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"I think you should have a choice. People have a right to that choice. If I wasn't at Los Al, I wouldn't want to be stuck somewhere else." Robert Torres Los Alamitos senior

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"I do not think a student should be able to transfer schools just to play sports, but if a student is transferring for another reason and wants to participate in sports--and they participated at the previous school--then they should be allowed to do so; for example, they're having trouble with gangs at school or having any type of conflict. There are many other reasons why you would transfer. I don't think one school should have a stronger athletic department because students are allowed to switch. Having one strong high school in the district isn't right." Chris Turanitza Anaheim Loara, Class of '65

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"I don't think they should change schools because of sports. A more basic reason is for education." Veronica Rivera Mater Dei sophomore

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"I have a mixed opinion regarding this 1114 bill. I feel academically a student who wants to better himself should be able to go to the school of his choice. If an athlete is transferring schools just to play on a winning team, then the grade-point averages should have to be raised. And if you can't make the grade, you don't play. On the downside of this bill, a lot of schools will suffer--maybe even have to close down. We all know the costs of running a school, and if there's not enough students, we can't keep a school open." Mark Ardis Huntington Beach Edison, Class of '78

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"Student athletes should not have the right to transfer schools. It weakens schools' athletic abilities and it can also make teams stack other players, such as an example I got from reading an article in Sports Illustrated: A (particular high school) in Chicago was stacking its basketball team with superstar players transferring from other public schools. I do not believe in public school transfers. It ruins the competitive spirit of high school sports. We have major league free-agency, let's not let it come to high school sports." Chris Levens Trabuco Hills sophomore

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"I think it would just be terrible to allow people to transfer because of sports reasons. This would create unfair monopolies in the different sports. And it would just completely destroy the natural competition between schools if all of the good players in a particular sport are all transferring to one particular school." Jennifer Tobkin Villa Park junior

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"Open enrollment lets parents select the best school for their children, but open enrollment for athletes only causes unbalance in high school athletics and league play. Only with a written, documented release from the school athletic director (from which) the student is transferring from should the student be allowed to play sports. Make sports as equal as possible. Encourage all sport programs to provide quality systems by an equal enrollment base to draw athletes from. Do you want one strong team in an area or city, or good rivalries of three or four schools competitively equal? By the way, CIF should apply this rule to all schools, such as Mater Dei High School." Bob Wilson Orange

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"People should be able to transfer for sports reasons because the Orange County High School of the Arts allows its dance students to transfer from all different places. If a student from another school, like from Long Beach, wants to come to Los Alamitos because we have a great sports team, he should be allowed to do that." Allison Wood Los Alamitos senior

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"Schools aren't places to play sports: it's a school. Sports is just a thing on the side. A school like Mater Dei, which is doing really well right now in all sports, would get a bunch of good kids going over there because they want to play with a winner. Every team has to have its ups and downs. Sports isn't the reason for going to school." Matt Shochat Corona del Mar sophomore

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"I definitely think that students should be able to transfer to other schools because of sports. I did the same my sophomore year, from Fountain Valley to Ocean View for basketball reasons. It was just a hassle having to find a class that Ocean View had that Fountain Valley didn't. I just think it should be a lot easier (to transfer). People should be able to do what they want, to go to the school they want for any reasons." Aaron Hardin Golden West College Ocean View, Class of '93

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"I think it's a big IF for students to transfer from high school to high school. It's just a sport and that's all there is to it. All in all, it comes down to being just a game. If you're transferring just to defend a trophy, there's no point in playing; there's too much emphasis put on it." Efren Bojorquez Bellflower St. John Bosco junior

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"I don't think it's right that you should switch schools just for the sport, because then that way some schools would be more at an advantage than others, so you wouldn't quite have a fairness toward the game. That way, one school would always be dominating and always recruit kids." Courtney Gibney El Dorado junior

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"Athletes should not be able to go to different schools primarily for sports because that makes competitiveness really different. Some schools would have immediate advantages over others, and it's not fair to all the faculty and students to lose big time against some school that recruited some guy from wherever. I don't think they should be able to recruit. You should make major penalties if they do recruit and break the rules." Ahad Lakhani El Modena junior

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"People should be allowed to transfer to other schools, because at my school we don't have water polo. And some guys who like water polo would like to transfer to, say, Bolsa Grande, which has water polo. Another reason is, say for instance you play football and you're not getting any playing time and you know you're better than some players and the coaches show favoritism, you should be allowed to transfer to another school to play. Transfers happen all around Southern California all the time, and people should be allowed to do this. Another reason, too, is maybe if you feel you can get better grades, then transfer." Justin Verner Garden Grove junior

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"I played against Michael Graham twice, once against Mater Dei and once against Edison. I just feel it's not a very good reason that you should change schools for sports because there's no academics involved. It takes away from the real essence of school, which is to get an education, not to play sports." Matt Blashaw Servite senior

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"Students shouldn't be able to transfer from school to school for sports because if they live in one area, they should go to that school and play sports for that school. It's not fair that a school like Mater Dei gets to recruit from other places when the people could play at their own school and be a standout." Sean Henry El Modena sophomore

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"I think they should have their option to go to whatever school they want to. If the school has any particular sport another school doesn't have, that school should either recommend it or the student should start going to the other school. It's their opinion where they go. And if they want to play a sport for a different school because their school is not as good in that sport, they should just go there." Brian Wilson Los Alisos seventh-grader Mission Viejo

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