State-wide open enrollment may affect high school sports in Kansas

Published: Jun. 15, 2022 at 6:48 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The NCAA transfer portal has changed the landscape of college athletics, and now, Kansas high schools could face similar situations with state-wide open enrollment.

Governor Kelly signed an education bill last month allowing students to choose their school of choice, regardless of what district they live in, immediately calling into question what this could mean for high school athletes.

The Kansas State High School Activities Association met today to wrap up the school year, and discuss the future of open enrollment in Kansas.

“They could choose to go to a different school because of the fact that they have better athletics or better opportunities for bigger schools to come watch than our small schools do,” said Roger Perkins, KSHSAA President.

KSHSAA remains solid in its stance that open enrollment is meant for academic purposes, not athletics.

“Kansas high schools do not recruit kids, are not supposed to recruit kids for activity purposes,” said Executive Director Bill Faflick. “Our activities don’t exist for the purposes of winning championships. That’s the goal of every team. Our activities exist so kids can be connected to school. They support academic achievement, they teach life lessons about leadership, about accountability, about overcoming adversity.”

Open enrollment is not a free for all. KSHSAA says its rules for transferring students still will apply. They must be academically eligible, good citizens, and if a student was on a varsity roster at one school, they cannot play varsity in the same sport at their new school for a full calendar year.

“We want kids to participate, but it’s a loyalty rule,” said Faflick to the board. “It’s loyal for you to demonstrate loyalty to the school, but the school to demonstrate loyalty to you, the students that remain at the school.”

The open enrollment process will go into effect for the 2024-25 school year.

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