BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Changes to Florida state laws now give student athletes more power to pick where they play sports.
The changes to the policy were first made by the Florida High School Athletic Association several months ago. The new state statute became effective July 1. It's now making its way into the policies of school district across Florida, including Bay District Schools.
The Bay District School Board announced policy changes at Tuesday's school board meeting.
In essence, the policy change removes the waiting period student athletes had to endure before playing. Now they'll no longer have to wait a year to play when transferring to a new school.
So, as district leaders explained, it's possible to play a fall sport at Rutherford High School, another at Deane Bozeman school in the spring and end the year at Bay High, for example.
Students may not, however, play the same sport within the same year at two schools, except under certain circumstances, including a permanent move, changes in foster care, and others.
It's caught the ire of many district athletic and academic leaders. Superintendent Bill Husfelt said it could get out of control, and eventually thinks the change will be repealed.
He echoes the concerns of the district's athletic director, Kirk Harrell, who says it could disrupt a student's education.
"But I guess time will tell," Harrell said. "This will be the first time we've had this lenient of a policy and we'll just see if parents allow their students to move for athletic reasons or if they hold them to the guns perhaps to the school that best fits them academically and just allow them to stay regardless of what happens to athletics."
Harrell, Husfelt and the board hope students students don't transfer solely for sports. Harrell said the old policy certainly slowed the rate of students transferring schools.
For more information on the policy change, see the story in the link above.