Nemer Hassey sees roughly 50 students a year transfer into Cienega High School for several different reasons. About 10 of them play sports without any penalty, as long at they follow the rules.
Soon, however, athletes transferring to any school may have to sit out a year.
The Arizona Interscholastic Association's legislative council will vote today on whether to implement a 25-mile transfer rule.
The current rule states that a student may transfer without penalty as long as there is a change of residency. The revision still would require a change of residence, but that change would have to be at least 25 miles from the "sending school." Without a change of residence, the athlete must sit out for a full year.
"Eighth-graders and their parents have to make good decisions," said Hassey, Cienega's longtime football coach and an assistant principal. "I think the best way to success academically and athletically is for a kid to stay where they're at for all four years."
Hassey is among those who support the rule change, and said he would be in favor of extending it to 100 miles to prevent athletes in the Phoenix area from school-shopping.
The Star talked with four local athletic directors about the possible rule change. Here's what they said:
Pat Weber, Flowing Wells
• His take: Weber believes today's vote could be the beginning of a change, but would like to see how it plays out. He also would like to see how the ruling fares in other states.
• Quotable: "Potentially, the 25-mile rule might be a start to see how this issue works. As long as the appeal rule is still in place, I'd be willing to give it a try. It's time to see if it works. There isn't one rule that will solve every transfer ruling."
Jerry Gastellum, Tucson
• His take: Gastellum said he'd like to see things stay the same.
• Quotable: "That is more of a Phoenix thing. They are the ones who initiated it. I'm an old-way kind of guy."
Chris Fanning, Sahuarita
• His take: Fanning has mixed feelings about the purposed transfer rule. He thinks it could have a negative impact on some of the legitimate transfers around the state.
• Quotable: "I think it's a step in the right direction. I'm not sure how this will affect our school. We are a growing community, we've had many families move out of Tucson to our area. We'll have to check out all the rules beforehand."
Bart Peterson, Palo Verde
• His take: Peterson said he likes the idea and the philosophy. The rule change would keep kids from bouncing from school to school in search of a championship, he said.
• Quotable: "I don't think it will affect Palo Verde greatly. We would have some kids that would have to sit out. What it does is tie in to what they're trying to do, which is to focus on academics and not coach- or school-shopping for championships."
Proposed Rule Change
The AIA's legislative council will vote today on whether to enact a 25-mile transfer rule. If passed, the legislation would force athletes who transfer to another school within 25 miles of their changed residence to sit out a full year.
Here's a look at the distances between some Southern Arizona schools, and how they compare to a few Phoenix-area schools:
• Distance between Cienega and Ironwood Ridge: 30 miles
• Distance between Sahuarita and Sabino: 26 miles
• Distance between Desert View and Marana: 25 miles
• Distance between Chandler Hamilton and Peoria Sunrise Mountain: 37 miles
• Distance between Goodyear Millennium and Mesa Dobson: 30 miles