Pasco School Board member proposes easing student-athlete transfer rules
Pasco County School Board vice chairman Steve Luikart's push to revamp the board's student-athlete transfer policy has created a stir among district leaders, who are seeking more details as they head to a second workshop on the subject.
"I got the sense there's more to the story," said chairwoman Alison Crumbley.
Luikart pointed out that his concerns arose when approached by a mom who used to be one of his students when he worked at Ridgewood High. She wants her son, who has attended four high schools in four years, to play sports at Ridgewood. A district appeal committee, and then the superintendent's representative, denied the application.
Luikart argued that the district should not use sports participation punitively. He suggested that the student's mom had lived in the Ridgewood zone all along, and her son enrolled appropriately over the summer, so the boy should be able to play.
He proposed modifying the district policy, which the board adopted unanimously a year ago, to give more specific definitions to types of transfers. Notably, Luikart recommended these terms for "enrolled students":
"Any student who is enrolled in school on the first day of school and lives in that school's attendance boundaries. Lives with a legal guardian. Complies with all FHSAA regulations for athletic eligibility. Will be eligible for athletic participation at their home school."
Right now, those students would have to sit out a year without a waiver of the district's policy.
Under Luikart's proposal, students who transfer during the school year, either within the county or from outside, would still have to receive approval to participate in sports from a review committee. He also sought to place a board member on the committee.
The board refused to consider the proposal on Tuesday, and would not support Luikart's motion to suspend the existing policy pending further review. The board has set a workshop in two weeks to discuss the subject further.
"It is very important that we get this policy right," Crumbley said, stressing that she did not necessarily see problems with it as it stands.