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Transfer Eligibility Review
General Information for Students and Parents

The MSHSL understands that varsity eligibility is important to you. Below are some frequently asked questions regarding transfer eligibility. The information contained herein is not a bylaw or policy and is intended only to provide an overview of the transfer eligibility process. For the most current version of Bylaw 111 and MSHSL policies, please visit www.mshsl.org. Before transferring schools, please review the following so that you will understand the transfer’s impact on your varsity eligibility.

1.What is a transfer?

A transfer student is a student who discontinues enrollment and attendance in any high school, public or non-public, and enrolls in any other high school in Minnesota, or outside of Minnesota. Essentially, a transfer occurs anytime a student’s school of record changes. A transfer is considered complete when the student attends class or participates with an athletic program at the new school. This includes home schools, charter schools, and online schools.
2.If I transfer to a new high school, will I be eligible for varsity competition?

If you transfer to a new high school, you will be eligible for varsity athletic competition if:
1.You are enrolling in 9th grade for the first time;
2.Your entire family moves to a new residence in a different attendance area;
3.Your residence is changed pursuant to a court order;
4.Your parents are divorced and you move from one parent to another.
(This option may be used just one time after you enroll in 9th grade); or
5.You and your family have moved to Minnesota from another state or country.
If none of the above apply, you will be ineligible (for one calendar year from the date of the transfer) from participating in interscholastic varsity athletic competition. You will, however, be eligible to participate in varsity tryouts, practices, scrimmages, jamborees, etc., and non-varsity (JV, B-squad, etc.) competitions. You will not be eligible for varsity competition.
3.What happens if none of the five provisions above apply and I am determined ineligible?

If none of the five provisions set forth above apply and you are determined ineligible, you can request that the MSHSL review the determination of ineligibility. There are seven circumstances with which you can request a review:
1.You are transferred to a new high school within the same school district;
2.A change in family circumstances such as adoption, abandonment, or death of a parent.
3.A substantial negative change in your family’s economic status. For example, if one or both parent(s) loses their job or other means of income.
4.School student Bullying or Harassment as identified in Minnesota State Statutes 121A.03 and 121A.031.
5.Administrative error. For example, the receiving school misapplied MSHSL bylaws or policies.
6.You have completed a licensed program for chemical dependency or mental illness (provided all other eligibility rules are followed) and the receiving school will better serve the student’s needs.
The principals and activities directors from both the sending and receiving school agree that varsity competition eligibility should be considered.
4.How do I request a Transfer Eligibility Review?

When you enrolled at your new school [receiving school] and indicated an interest in participating in athletics, the school compiled information and submitted a student transfer report to the MSHSL. The transfer report contains general information on your previous school(s) and the reason for your transfer. Based on this information, the receiving school makes aninitial eligibility determination. That determination is sent to the MSHSL for review to ensure compliance with MSHSL bylaws and policies.

If you are determined ineligible, you can request further review by the MSHSL. Visit with the athletic director at the Receiving School and request a Transfer Eligibility Review. The athletic director will submit the request and supporting documentation to the League for review.

All denied Transfer Eligibility Review requests for varsity competition eligibility will be reviewed by the MSHSL Board of Directors Eligibility Committee for further review or referral to an Independent Reviewer. Ultimately, the final decisions on eligibility will be made by the MSHSL Board of Directors.
5.What types of information and documentation should I provide in support of my request for a Transfer Eligibility Review?

You should provide a written explanation and documentation supporting your request for review. This is your opportunity to support your request for eligibility so please submit whatever relevant documentation/information you have. Below are common types of documentation the MSHSL looks for under each of the seven review options:
1. Internal district policies (for transfers in districts with multiple high schools)
  • The district policy or policies that precipitated the transfer
  • Correspondence from the school district describing the circumstances of the transfer
    2. Adoption, abandonment, or death of a parent
  • Adoption Decree, death certifi cate, CHIPS order
    3. Substantial negative change in the economic status
  • The MSHSL typically considers three years of tax returns showing a negative change in the Adjusted Gross Income.
  • You are encouraged to submit any other documentation showing a negative change in economic status. For example, employer notification indicating the recent loss of income or loss of employment, disability determinations from a medical professional or government agency that indicate a reduction in the ability to be employed.
  • NOTE: Discretionary spending decisions will generally not be considered to be a negative change in economic status.
    4. School Bullying/Harassment
  • Documentation that a complaint was made under the district policy prior to the transfer
  • A report from the sending school that it has investigated and determined a case of bullying or harassment pursuant to Minnesota Statute 121A.03 and 121A.031.
  • Any other documentation of bullying or harassment at the sending school
    5. Administrative Error
  • Documentation from a school administrator explaining the error or errors made in the initial eligibility determination.
    6. Completion of a licensed program for treatment of alcohol or substance abuse, mental illness or emotional disturbance provided all other eligibility rules are followed.
  • Documentation from the director of the treatment facility/provider showing completion of a licensed program by the student
  • Documentation to show the receiving school provides specific aftercare for the student.
    7. School Administrators request for review
  • The administrators from both schools agree varsity competition eligibility should be considered for the student. This Transfer Eligibility Review provision is applicable only for students who transfer from one MSHSL member school to another MSHSL member school.
  • The written request from the administrators at both the receiving school and sending school should include all documents they believe support eligibility.
  • This provision requires certifi cation from both schools confirming no recruitment or inappropriate contact has occured.
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    The Team Is In Minnesota, The Coach Lives In Nebraska
    Posted by John Millea(jmillea@mshsl.org)- Updated 12/13/2017 8:32:27 PM

    The Lyle-Pacelli girls basketball team is interesting in lots of ways. The Athletics are ranked No. 1 in Class 1A, for example, and ran their season record to 6-0 Tuesday night with a 71-43 victory at Randolph. The team is a cooperative effort with players from Lyle (a public school in a community of 500 within a mile of the Iowa border) and Pacelli, a small Catholic school in nearby Austin.

    It’s rare to have a top-ranked team and it’s rare when public and private schools work together to form teams, as Lyle and Pacelli do in lots of sports.

    But here’s the most interesting thing about the Lyle-Pacelli girls basketball team: The head coach lives in Omaha. Which is in Nebraska. Which is not in Minnesota.

    Austin native Justin Morris has been the Athletics head coach for several years now, and the highlight of his tenure was the team’s first trip to the state tournament in 2015. The three seniors on this year’s roster – Kristi Fett, Brooke Walter and Kendal Truckenmiller – are hoping for a return visit to state. To get there, the team will need to keep working and improving … even when their head coach isn’t around.

    Morris was absent for Tuesday’s game, the first one he has missed this season. He will be back for games Friday at home vs. Glenville-Emmons and Saturday in Decorah, Iowa, vs. Crestwood High School from Cresco, Iowa. Omaha is 300 miles from Austin, a drive of four hours-plus.

    “It’s a unique situation. It’s crazy, it really is,” Morris said during a phone interview from Omaha on Wednesday. “I get a little uncomfortable about it, because it’s not about me and what I do. This group of kids is where the story is.”

    That’s a fair point. Morris’ coaching and working lives are 300 miles apart because he feels so strongly about his players. He has been coaching since the current seniors were in seventh grade, and he didn’t want to end his tenure until the Class of 2018 played its final season. Thus the occasional absences and the many drives back and forth from Omaha. And when this season ends, so will his coaching career at Lyle-Pacelli.

    But why? And how? Those are the obvious questions. The answers start back in 2015 when the Athletics went to state. The team beat Mountain Iron-Buhl in the quarterfinals before losing to Ada-Borup in the semifinals and Minneota in the third-place game. At a welcome home rally for the team, Morris was interviewed by a reporter from KAAL TV in Rochester. Her name is Megan Stewart and they ended up dating.

    Fast forward a bit. Morris and Stewart are now engaged. When she took a job at KMTV in Omaha earlier this year, Justin also made the move and found employment in his chosen field as a senior vice president of a banking company. They will be married next Labor Day weekend in Megan’s hometown of Lakeville.

    Brad Walter (Brooke’s dad and Morris’ uncle) is a former head coach of the basketball team and the current top assistant, taking over when Justin isn’t on hand. Walter directed things Tuesday at Randolph, and Morris is very grateful to have such a seasoned pro on the coaching staff.

    “Brad’s really the story,” Morris said, handing off another assist. “He started the youth program. … We’re approaching this collaboratively, Brad and I, we’re really co-coaching. I’ll be back as much as I can, but Brad’s got the reins when I’m not there.

    “Brad has got all the ability in the world to run things. We run the same plays, the same defenses and have the same philosophy since I took over in 2012. We have a known commodity in terms of what our philosophy is, our offense, our defense, what our culture is.”

    The Athletics are highly entertaining to watch. Fett is a 6-foot-5 center who averages 27 points and has signed with Minnesota State Mankato. The remaining starters -- Walter, Truckenmiller, Olivia Christianson and Abby Bollingberg, as well as the players off the bench – are quick with the ball and always hustling. Fett scored 25 points at Randolph, Bollinger had 19, Walter 13 and Christianson nine.

    The players sometimes start practice without any coaches in the gym, but having grown up playing with each other they have built a strong bond.

    “We talked about it at the beginning of the season,” Brooke Walter said. “We have to trust each other and everybody has to lead. We have to step up and we know no matter what happens, if (Morris is) there or not, we have each other and we know what to do.”

    Fett said, “There are times at practice when we have to get things rolling and keep our standards up. We know we have to be responsible. It’s unique but it makes us really close, too.”

    Lyle athletic director Jamie Goebel said Morris came to him earlier this year and explained that he was moving to Omaha but still wanted to coach one more season.

    “As an educator you always think about ethical things, the community effect,” Goebel said. “Ultimately it came down to what’s in the best interests of the students. I was confident in what he and Brad and (volunteer coach) Terry Nelsen will be able to do this year, and it seemed like the right decision for Lyle and Pacelli. He’s been very forthcoming, very transparent with me and the girls and we worked through some of the details.”

    Lyle-Pacelli lost to Goodhue in the Section 1 playoffs the last two years (with Goodhue going on to win the state title each time). In the latest Class 1A rankings by Minnesota Basketball News, Lyle-Pacelli is No. 1, Goodhue is No. 2 and Hayfield (another Section 1 team) is No. 5.

    Lyle-Pacelli, which hasn’t lost a Southeast Conference game since 2012, has built its reputation by giving young players opportunities to play and grow. Of the team’s current veterans, Morris said, “We started moving them up when they were in seventh, eighth, ninth grade. They started having success and it built on itself.”

    Morris travels in several states for his job, so driving between Omaha and southeast Minnesota on Interstates 80, 35 and 90 is no big deal. The basketball team’s schedule has been set up to make it easier for him to be in the gym, especially for the biggest games.

    “We’re a family,” he said. “From day one when I took over we talked about creating a family culture. It’s about all of us together. We’re in this thing together and we’re going to make it work together. We talk every day about how life is about choices. I made a choice that I was going to get engaged and get married to the love of my life, and she decided she’s going to move to Omaha.

    “I’m thankful they still want me involved, I’m thankful Brad is as good a coach as there is anywhere. Because it’s all about the kids.”

    All those miles, all those practices, all those games. All that work will, hopefully, take the Athletics back to the state tournament.

    “I met the love of my life the last time we went to state,” the coach said, his smile obvious through the phone line all the way from Omaha. “If we get back, maybe I can win the lottery or something.”

    Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn

    More of John's Journal
    Why We Play
    Home Page Photo Aligning Common Language with School Boards to Ensure a Purpose-Based Athletics Culture
    There are a number of important steps to creating a purpose-based interscholastic athletics culture. One key undertaking is the adoption of a common language within your school community. A question many coaches and athletic directors ask is how to establish a common language and subsequent buy-in from school administration and school boards. It is easy to recognize how important common language is within an athletic department's culture; finding ways to align this common language with school district policymakers can be easier said than done. This is especially true without a game plan on how to connect with our important stakeholders.

    Idea sharing is a hallmark of educational-athletics. In this post, I want to share an idea from my school's InSideOut Initiative journey as we work through establishing a common language and a collective definition of success for our programs. It is my hope the following ideas can be adapted and improved to trigger your own thoughts on how to implement common vernacular and communicate program goals at your school.

    Many athletic departments are asked to give reports to its school board or board of education. In the St. Anthony – New Brighton School District, we are asked to present annually. We have worked very hard to produce data-rich information for our school board. For example, our report details participant and program demographics such as free or reduced lunch, ethnicity, and gender. This data analysis also gives a detailed look at how our students' grades and attendance rates are tied to greater participation in sports and activities. We spend 40-plus hours preparing these statistics for our school board. However, in our recent hour-long annual report we spent about 10 minutes talking about these numbers! Much to my delight, the focus was on our "why." We spent 50 minutes of our hour-long presentation talking about our program's purpose—exactly what we want our conversations to focus on.

    The organization of our presentation allowed for this conversation to happen. Our board is a very engaged group who reviews the information they receive closely. We provided our data analysis to the board in advance of the meeting so they have the opportunity to preview this information—this allowed us to focus on other purpose-based topics in our presentation. Our athletics and activities report had three agenda items: 1.) a few quick updates on hot topics, 2.) our department's purpose, and 3.). the annual data and participation report. After giving introductory remarks and quick updates, I invited three coaches to join in our presentation to the school board. The following bullet points walk through a process you could use to share and promote common language along with your definition of success. This format is simple and easy to recreate—any school could do something like this to further alignment among the policymakers in your district.
  • To frame your presentation, identify three of your core values you would like to use as your guide. For me, I focused on areas that connect to my goals as an athletic director: service to others, measurements of success beyond the scoreboard, and developing well-rounded character within our student-athletes.
  • I then enlisted three of our coaches who have a purpose statement that relates to each of these areas. Each coach spoke for 5 to 7 minutes and gave stories about the positive impact their program is making in the lives of our student-athletes.
  • After my introductory remarks, our first coach spoke about the service projects her teams have led—giving back to the community. She then discussed her purpose as a coach and how we embrace a serving attitude rather than be-served mindset.
  • Next, our second coach talked about how her program's definition of success is based on so much more than a scoreboard. They focus on improvement, having fun, and becoming better people—not just better athletes. She then read her transformational purpose statement to the board. Her purpose statement centers on relationships, being a good teammate, and how in 20 years we will know how successful we were!
  • Our final coach led a discussion about our department's emphasis on teaching the Ys and life lessons, not just Xs and Os. He talked about the impact of our weekly character education lessons, teaching not just about performance character, but also moral character. After giving powerful examples to our school board and how his team has been positively influenced by this approach, he then provided his purpose statement about playing and living a life with integrity.

    It was then my turn. I spoke about our department's book club subject, Start with Why by Simon Sinek, and gave the board my why: I serve to use the power of high school athletics and activities to make the world a better place. The resulting comments, questions, and dialogue with our school board were grounded by this conversation. It was the best school board meeting I have ever been a part of!

    This is a success story from my school district that I am confident could be easily repeated in yours. If anyone has any questions about how to prepare a similar presentation with your school board, please do not hesitate to contact me—I would be more than happy to help in any way I can.

    Troy Urdahl, St. Anthony Village Athletic Administrator

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