Pending Bills May Change Florida High School Athletics

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By: Elizabeth Nickerson

March 26, 2013

Tallahassee, FL--Some high school sports stars go from school to school to play for the reigning team of the season.

"That's common in my high school," said Travon Holmes, a Rickards High School Athlete. "They do that daily."

Transferring schools within the season is not allowed, but it happens.

Now, new proposed bills in the Florida legislature would allow it to happen.

"Back stabbed--almost in a way because you know you are saying you are my brother then you are leaving me that next day," said Craig Mackey, a Rickards High School Athlete. "So it's interesting to see how it will work out."

The Florida High School Athletics Association and some Florida high school coaches expressed their opposing feelings about the bills on a conference call Tuesday afternoon.

"These bills undermined our ability to enforce the rules," said Roger Dearing, the Executive Director for the Florida High School Athletics Association on a conference call. "Two in the House and two in the Senate--that threaten high school athletics are creating at one point the equivalency of a free agency for student athletes"

The bill would allow high school athletes to transfer schools in order to play for a different team as long as they meet academic requirements.

"A loyalty factor that is involved with that," said Earl Hankerson, the Rickards High School Athletic Director. "It is my belief that once you start somewhere or something you should finish it."

The bills would also reduce funding for the Florida High School Athletic Association.

The association says the resources are needed to fund state championships, awards and used to cover travel expenses.

The bills have yet to be passed, but have been making their way through subcommittees.