OSSAA Talks Decision To Allow Free Transfer For Student Athletes

The OSSAA voted to allow student-athletes to transfer to another school but said recruiting would not be allowed.

Thursday, December 7th 2023, 6:33 pm

By: News 9, Chris Yu


The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association spoke on Thursday about its decision to allow student athletes a free transfer to another school.

The OSSAA Board of Directors voted 12-1 on Wednesday in favor of an exception to Rule 8, the section of the organization's rulebook that deals with establishing and maintaining athletic eligibility.

The rule change allows student-athletes who have established athletic eligibility at a school to transfer to another school and play immediately after filing proper paperwork (and getting approval from the OSSAA). They will not have to sit for a year and they will not need to move into the district of their new school. Each student-athlete only gets one free transfer.

The change will take effect on July 1, 2024, and the transfer window will run through July 15. "The landscape and the climate of where we are - not just in Oklahoma but across the country, across the world for that matter - it's changed dramatically," said Grant Gower, assistant director of OSSAA. "And so addressing some of those needs, it's hopefully a way to be on the front end and on the proactive side with something that our schools will find palatable to implement and to deal with."

With students having more freedom to go play at programs of their choice, News 9 asked Gower about parity. "That's always a concern because obviously, we want as level of a playing field for all of our students and whichever activity it is," said Gower. "The reality of it is that there are some programs that have traditionally been more successful than others and that possibility does exist. But the key factor in all of that is: Will the school be able to accept transfers? When it's all said and done, that capacity is what is going to drive the number of transfers that a school may be able to accept so that is kind of that guardrail, if you will, that is built in."

Gower said even with the new exception to Rule 8, recruiting will not be allowed. If schools recruit student-athletes, they could face sanctions and the student-athletes could lose eligibility, according to the OSSAA rulebook. "And obviously, those are the things that we receive regularly anyway," said Gower. "And so it'd just be another component of investigating and going through that process."

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