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With the possible elimination of all sports at William Penn High School now on the table, one question I've encountered has to do with transfers. Specifically, if the district does slash all its sports, will athletes at the school then be able to transfer freely to other schools without punishment from the PIAA?

The answer is yes. Sort of.

I spoke with PIAA assistant executive director Melissa Mertz on Wednesday, who referred me to Article VI, Section 5 of the PIAA By-Laws, which deals with "Termination of Team(s) for Budgetary Reasons." This section was rewritten last year in response to an amendment slipped into the state's education funding bill last summer state Sen. Jake Corman. The amendment was widely criticized for its overreaching language that threatened the PIAA's existence if it did not comply with the law's vague wording.

In any event, here's the important part of the provision, as it relates to transferring from a school that cuts sports for budgetary reasons:

The student, because of the termination of the team primarily for budgetary reasons, (may transfer) to a public school or private school located within the public school district of the student's residence or to such a school located in a contiguous public school district.

You can read the rest of the criteria which determine a student-athlete's transfer eligibility here. Scroll down to page 19.

Essentially that means that if William Penn eliminates its sports programs, players in those sports would be eligible to transfer to any bordering public school district -- in this case, West York, Central York and York Suburban -- in addition to York County Tech and private/charter schools like New Hope Academy and York Catholic.

Of coure, the section also states that no receiving school would be required to accept a student that applies for a transfer.

So in the event a worst-case scenario occurs, there would be opportunities for affected students to transfer to other schools and continue their high school athletic careers. Here's hoping it doesn't get to that point.

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