High school sports transfer numbers decline statewide and in Southern Section


After four consecutive years of rising high school sports transfers in California, the final totals for the 2018-19 school year show a significant drop of more than 600 fewer students switching schools, according to numbers supplied by the California Interscholastic Federation.

There were 16,193 reported transfers statewide through June. That’s a drop from the record number of 16,839 for 2017-18. There were 16,595 in 2016-17 and 15,882 in 2015-16.

In the state’s largest section, the Southern Section, there were 6,495 transfers this past school year, down from 7,226 reported in 2017-18.


Southern Section Commissioner Rob Wigod said “it’s hard to know” if this is a turnaround after years of rising transfers or simply a temporary blip in the statistics. Southern Section schools were directed in January to begin requiring standardized information from parents for a valid change of residence, which may have helped discourage some transfers.

“We’ll have to see what the ’19-’20 school year looks like,” Wigod said. “It’s really hard to know if more students are staying put.”

A transfer committee launched by the Southern Section to investigate possible rule changes will meet on Aug. 14 to decide if it should make any recommendations. Focus has been on the sit-out period for athletes who don’t move. Some have suggested making athletes sit out the final part of the season (playoffs) instead of the beginning. It remains to be seen if there’s enough support for that proposal.

Ron Nocetti, who takes over next month as the new CIF executive director, said, “The fact it’s gone down is encouraging.”

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