Comments about ‘Play-where-you-want bill debated’

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Published: Thursday, Feb. 21 2008 12:00 a.m. MST

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Think again

Utah is already a very difficult place to be a High School coach. A high profile former pro athlete who grew up out of state but has raised his family here recently told me parents in Utah are the most difficult to deal with in the country. If you don't believe me try coaching or referring. This bill would make it unbearable. Imagine being a coach who put a lot of time and effort developing a kid for your program only to have him transfer for greener pastures. I've talked to a lot of good coaches that would get out of coaching if this bill passes. Coaches get paid a ridiculously low amount for the time and effort involved.


Play where you live. Enough said.


Is the UHSAA perfect, No. But if you think they aren't effective you don't understand the process. If an athlete wants to transfer they must get their current principle or coach to sign a document allowing them to participate in athletics at their new school. If the current school does not sign they have to sit out one year before they can participate. A lot of times the school will sign off and let the kid participate. The athlete can appeal to the UHSAA if they don't get approval. I can tell you that the vast majority of appeals are denied. The ones that aren't, like the kid from LP who transfered to AF, are because the UHSAA realized base on current law that they would lose argument in court. The UHSAA has to try and enforce the rules within the law, fair or not fair. And no, I do not work for the UHSAA. By the way the UHSAA is run by a board consisting of school principals voted on by all participating schools.

Big Al

This bill would provide HS sports the same pattern as the NCAA. Pretty soon, HS booster clubs and high rolling parents would be offering all kinds of incentives to attract star athletes to transfer to a certain school. Parents, coaches, and administrators will stop at nothing to gain the advantage. If you open this door, don't be shocked by who comes strolling through.


Interesting that Senator Stephenson conveniently forgot to disclose his financial interest in Draper's so called American Leadership Academy. One of the reasons he was such a voucher supporter.

Dean of Ed.

No need for this to pass--it already exists. Look at Timpview football this year, they had 22 out of area transfers on their team.

Murray student

I had to choice to go to Murray or Alta because of sports. I decided Murray because I grew up there, and that is where ALL my friends were. In general most athletes grow up around one high school and learn to love it, and they don't want to leave no matter how bad their teams are. At least 5 of my team mates I have know since 3rd grade because we all grew up in Murray, and we had great success this year. Lots of people just have pride of where they come from. I mean come one, look at Murray football....


Now I get to take my son out of this dump! You stiff necked losers of coaches ...forget the rah-rah bs. so llllllllooooongggggggg! It's on to some real opportunities. can't wait to see the town in my rear view mirror!

To "senate who" @ 1:13 pm

I think you missed the point of the Havili example. The article wasn't saying that Cottonwood has a Havili at every position. It was saying "what if they did?" Similar to what the guy from Florida was saying, what if there was one school in each region or district that was the "all star" team for that area - who would want to play them?
Personally, while I don't think the UHSAA gets it right every time, I do think there has to be an oversight group like UHSAA, or we will end up with the high school coaches recruiting at the junior highs, and then the junior highs will start recruiting at the elementaries.
I'd personally favor a "play where you live" option, so that if you wanted to play for "x" school, you have to move to that community. But even still, that could cause problems such as the issue with USC High (buying a house or promising free tuition for the kids who go there).


The legislator that votes for this is a fool. When are these goofballs going to be sent away? DON'T VOTE FOR ANY INCUMBENTS!!!


Obviously, we have a very emotional issue here. The problem with the current system is that it is not open enrollment for athletes. It should be play where you live or true open enrollment. As one poster said, all coaches are not operating above board. This is one reason why kids and parents should have more power as this legislator is suggesting.


When is the legislature going to wake up and grow up. You guys need to work on fixing your biased agenda. Anything that is good for you is good for the state, right? Not so! The fairest thing you people on the hill could do is realize that your job is not to rule over everything and cause change to benefit you or your special interest friends. And by the way, Who is dumb enough to listen to anything that Howard Stevenson says. He has worked for years to destroy public education and now he is working on high school activities. The best thing we could do for schools and school activities is get rid of every legislator and replace them with honest people who don't double-speak or work to line their own pockets or the pockets of their friends.

Former State Senator

To Integrity: Your comments regarding Howard Stephenson simply scratch the surface of a rather large iceberg. The evil axis of Stephenson, Buttars, Gayle Ruzicka, Paul Mero and LaVar Christensen effectively controls the agenda of the legislature. I have never been treated with such outright intimidation and condescension as these people demonstrate. They are truly an example of unrighteous dominion and the citizens of Utah give them a free pass. It is discouraging to attempt to serve the public in this poisoned environment; and is the primary reason I voluntarily left after one term. You might also be interested to know that Senator Stephenson is a registered lobbyist for the Utah Taxpayers Association and is in the fortunate position to "give" himself free tickets to Jazz games. Nobody takes advantage of more freebies that Senator Stephenson, and I guarantee he feels like he is bulletproof.

Even More Irate

This is a very enlightening forum. Clearly Stephenson and Buttars (together with their accomplices) are still upset over the voucher defeat that took money from their personal vaults. Their attack on public education is simply thinly veiled revenge - including their pending legislation to decrease UEA funding. Since when did retribution and mean spiritedness become the guiding principles of our legislators? Where are a few good people when so desperately needed?

anonymous plays for

1A couldn't make it in the bigger pond ..we know, we know!

Why can't the Utah

legislature butt out of things? This is not a problem for the legislature to be working on. How about healthcare, crime, gangs, mortgage and bankruptcy problems. Instead of focusing on things that matter they worry about a high school athlete not being able to play where he wants? Rediculous. The circus is always in town, and they leave nothing more important than droppings.

Craig Hammer

I have served on the UHSAA Executive Committee for the past 10+ years and I've also been part of numerous hearings of which 95% have been denied. The UHSAA has a FOUR person staff! The Board of Trustees is made up of your elected school board members (one from each region) and the Executive Committee is made up of one principal from each region. The schools run the UHSAA. They do not have the staff or funds to investigate each complaint, we rely on principals to investigate and report abuses. It's sad that these comments are based on lack of information. Mr. Van Wagner has been counsel for the UHSAA for 25+ years and continues to do all he can to support the policies of the association. I doubt this bill has any chance of passing but it is amazing that some legislators think they can govern high school sports. I to would be happy to talk to anyone about the perceptions of the association. As Mr. Van Wagner offered, give your number to Amy Donaldson and I'll call. I support high school sports and will continue to do so.


The only thing unfair is school sthat are labelled "open enrollment." Either make them all open enrollment or make them all closed enrollment. If a parent wants their kid to go to a certain school they can move into those boudaries. If you look at schools with open enrollment they have on average an unfair advantage-- look at Skyline and Timpview for starters.

If the school has problems with enrollment at these schools change the boundaries but make the process fair for participation.


Parents should be able to choose what school is best for their child without any "sports" consequence. This would require High School coaches to become more involved in their communities and to develop positive relationships with parents. Coaches would need to recruit the athletes in their boundry. Great coaches, like Quincy Lewis do this. The no transfer rule accually supports strong sports programs. At Lone Peak there were at least 5-7 boys basketball players cut from the team that could start at other high schools. If allowed to transfer these athletes would be competing against LP. (Like the player who left LP his senior year and played for PG two yrs ago.) If participation and an even playing field is the goal of the UHSAA, why not let them transfer and participate?


Unfortunately this is a HUGE problem as coaches recruit talented players and create the Skyline's of the past. the best solution is for our taxpayer dollars to STOP funding athletics altogether and model american athletics after the Europeans and have club teams rather than school district sponsored teams.

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