Student athletes face transfer rule

A transfer means not only adjusting to new teams and coaches but also unexpected barriers regarding varsity eligibility.
Junior Casey Poppler, who transferred to MV from TG and is ineligible to run varsity Cross Country as a result, wins his JV events by over 30 seconds.
Junior Casey Poppler, who transferred to MV from TG and is ineligible to run varsity Cross Country as a result, wins his JV events by over 30 seconds.
Chris Hammerbeck

For students transferring to Mounds View High School, navigating through new classes, teachers and peers can be an overwhelming task. However, for student-athletes, in addition to becoming adapted to the school environment, a transfer means not only adjusting to new teams and coaches but also unexpected barriers regarding varsity eligibility.

The Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) rules state that students who choose to transfer schools during their time in high school are ineligible to compete in varsity sports for one calendar year unless they move their residence to the school’s district or appeal the ruling. Appeals can be made for having divorced parents living in different school districts, drops in family income or extenuating circumstances like bullying at previous schools. 

Although the eligibility rule can create challenges for transfer students hoping to compete in varsity sports, it exists to ensure that students are transferring schools for the primary purpose of academics and not to compete in sports. “You don’t want kids just coming in just switching schools just for sports. People are here to go to school,” said James Galvin, Mounds View sports and activities director.

Junior Tre Doran, who transferred to MV from Irondale, is ineligible to run varsity track.

Junior Tre Doran, a sprinter who transferred from Irondale at the start of the second semester of this school year, is a student who has been impacted by the MSHSL varsity eligibility rules. “And it did affect me because I’m currently still going through the process to try to run varsity. Currently, right now, I’m running JV. Me and my mom are about to send in an appeal soon to run so I can run varsity,” said Doran.

Despite uncertainty, Doran hopes to continue his track success at Mounds View. Given that he already competed for Irondale in the 4×100 meter relay at last year’s state tournament, he hopes to compete in the 4×100 meter relay as well as the 100-meter and 200-meter at Mounds View.

Similarly, the MSHSL ruled junior Casey Poppler, a cross country and track distance runner, ineligible because of conflict with their rules. Poppler transferred to Mounds View from Totino Grace during his sophomore year, and even though he continued to live in the Mounds View district while attending Totino Grace, he was still ineligible for varsity athletics after transferring back to Mounds View.

At the start of Poppler’s junior year, he was one of the top runners for Mounds View’s cross country program, so not being eligible to compete in varsity hurt the team’s varsity results and impeded his own growth. In addition to missing out on the opportunity to be a valuable asset to the state team, in JV, Poppler won all of his regular-season races by at least 30 seconds — a large margin in cross country. “I had a blast, but I mean, winning and running by myself was not fun,” said Poppler.

Ultimately, for the MSHSL, the challenge becomes ensuring that transfers are not abused for the sake of athletics while also ensuring varsity athletics remain attainable for students changing schools. Depending on where the line is drawn, transfer students at Mounds View can be affected in their athletic involvement making it difficult for them to compete at the highest level.

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Vincent Meyer, Staff Reporter
Vincent is a junior staff reporter, and this year is his first year on The Viewer. Awards: Best of SNO - The downfall of ELA education Best of SNO - Prince of Peace Church combats homelessness with tiny home settlement
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