The following is a snippet of the many Ohio High School Athletic Association bylaws that helps it oversee more than 700 member high schools.
It’s long, it’s legalize, and it’s also the verbiage that Springfield Shawnee High School was found to have violated, resulting in a five-game forfeiture from the 2013 football season.
A student is considered to have transferred whenever enrollment is changed from one school to another school, or whenever the student participates in a practice, scrimmage or contest with a school-sponsored squad of a school in which the student has not been enrolled. If a student transfers at any time after the fifth day of the student’s ninth grade year or after having established eligibility prior to the start of school by playing in a contest (scrimmage, preview or regular season/tournament contest), until the one year anniversary of the date of enrollment in the school to which the student transferred, the student shall be ineligible for the first fifty percent (50%) of the maximum allowable regular season contests in those sports in which the student participated during the twelve (12) months immediately preceding this transfer.
Note: For purposes of this bylaw, a student is considered to have participated in a sport if he/she has entered, if for only one play, a scrimmage or contests at any level of competition/contests (e.g. freshman, junior varsity and varsity). With respect to inter-district transfers, one or more of the following exceptions may apply:
EXCEPTION: I - If, as a result of a bona fide legal change of residence made by BOTH PARENTS (biological, adoptive or step-parents) from one public school district into another school district, the student is compelled to transfer to another high school, the commissioner’s office may waive all or part of the 50% period of ineligibility for one or more sport/sport seasons. The requirement that “both parents” make the move may be waived by the commissioner’s office if the marriage of the parents has been or is in the process of being terminated or if the parents were never married. An Affidavit of Bona Fide Residence in the form requested by the commissioner’s office, must be submitted along with any request for the application of this exception.
Note: Please refer to Bylaw 4-6-1 for a definition of bona fide residence. Also, the student and the student’s parents must reside in this new residence for a period of one year from the date on which this exception was applied to a given student. The school district will have a continuing duty to monitor compliance with the residency requirements during this one year period of time. Exception one permits the choice of a public high school in the parents’ new district of residence or any non-public high school.
EXCEPTION: 2 - If, as a result of a legal change of custody or guardianship has between a student’s parents, the student is compelled to transfer from one school district to another school district, the commissioner’s office may waive all or part of the 50% period of ineligibility for one or more sport/sport seasons if custody of a student is changed to a non-parent as a result of allegations of abuse, neglect or delinquency/unruliness which allegations result in an adjudication of one or more of those allegations, the commissioner’s office may waive all or part of the 50% period of ineligibility for one or more sport/sport seasons. The granting of a change of guardianship to a non-parent will not comply with this exception.
Note: By operation of statute, there cannot be a legal change of custody so long as a Shared parenting plan as defined in ORC §3109.04 is in effect. In order for there to be a change in custody, the Shared parenting plan must be terminated. Exception two permits the choice of a public high school in the legal custodian’s public school district of residence or any non-public high school.
EXCEPTION: 3 - If the high school, which is either a chartered high school in a single high school public school district or a chartered non-public high school, in which the student is enrolled closes or discontinues its high school program after grade nine, the student may enroll in any school and be immediately eligible insofar as transfer is concerned. Likewise, if the bona fide residence of the student’s parents is annexed to a different school district or consolidated within a school district, the student may be ruled eligible upon transfer to a school in the annexed or consolidated district subject to modification by formal action by the Boards of Education concerned. A copy of such action by Boards of Education must be on file in the Association office before the commissioner’s office can rule the student eligible.
Note: This exception shall be available to any student whose high school has closed as long as that high school was an OHSAA member school prior to the 2012-13 school year.
EXCEPTION 4: A student who does not live in the same school district as parents or legal guardian and who is financially self-supporting may be ruled eligible upon approval of the commissioner at a school in the district where the student resides. The commissioner is empowered to establish requirements for the student to be determined to be self-supporting. These requirements shall be established for each school year by May 15th of the preceding year. Self-support documentation must be submitted for approval every 30 days. The student is ineligible until ruled eligible by the commissioner.
Note: Living with and/or being employed by a relative does not qualify for self-support under this exception.
EXCEPTION 5: A student transferred to the State School for the Blind or State School for the Deaf shall be eligible upon enrollment.
Exception 6: The commissioner shall have the discretionary power to waive the residence requirements in only those cases of students whose parents live outside the school district and whose contracted domicile, which is a domicile currently under construction, is not available for their habitation. The students are ineligible until ruled eligible by the commissioner.