Transfer rule changes March 1

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By Dave Kavanaugh

The days of a Dons athlete suddenly becoming a Cardinal or vice versa are about to become a thing of the past.

Thanks to a new New Mexico Activities Association rule, student-athletes who transfer from one school district to another will now have to sit out 180 school days before participating in varsity athletic programs at the new school.

The rule change goes into effect Tuesday, March 1.

The rule has some stipulations that appear to afford some wiggle room: “If a student establishes a bona fide residence and meets all eligibility requirements, they are not considered a ‘transfer’ student and will be immediately eligible,” said NMAA Associate Director Robert Zayas in a news release issued earlier this month.

The NMAA is the organization that oversees interscholastic extracurricular activities — including sports — in high schools across the state.

A December referendum of the organization’s members, which include public as well as private schools, led to approval of the transfer rule change. Zayas noted that for the past four years, transfer students have had to sit out 90 school days before becoming eligible.

The NMAA Board of Directors on Jan. 26 approved March 1 as the start date for the new rule.

NMAA bylaws define a transfer student as “a student who attends a high school outside his or her designated attendance zone or who transfers and resides with someone other than parent(s) after his or her initial open enrollment choice, or transfers to his or her home district school after an open enrollment choice.”

“If a student leaves his or her previous school in good standing, the student is ineligible for varsity level participation for 180 school days. School days are determined using the official local school district’s calendar and does not include summer school.”