Disability case challenges MN high school transfer rule

The Minnesota State High School League, the governing body of high school sports, is pretty strict about talented kids jumping from school to school. When a kid transfers, he/she has to sit out a year. Otherwise, high school athletics would become like the pros — “free agents” would be jumping from school to school.

Should it make a difference if the athlete has a disability?

That’s the question the League is considering at the request of a family in Duluth, whose hockey-playing son transferred from Duluth Marshall — a private school — to Duluth Denfield, a public school.

Cam McClure and his family say he transferred because he has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and could no longer focus on the 90-minute classes at the private school. The public school, with its shorter classes, will be easier, they say.

Last month, the MSHSL denied the request, presenting the problem. Cam is a senior and this is his last season playing high school sports; he can’t sit out a year.

A hearing was held yesterday at the MSHSL headquarters and a judge had until Tuesday to decide, the Duluth News Tribune reports today.

Academically, the transfer seems to have worked. His his grade-point average was 3.75 in his first quarter at Denfeld. It had fallen to 2.0 at the private school. He also has an IEP, a tailored learning plan that makes accomodations for his disability.

“Kids who have to transfer from one school to another because of their disabilities cannot be penalized because of that disability-related transfer,” the family’s lawyer says.

The judge in the case has until Tuesday to decide.

Of course, there’s another aspect to this. Rosters are limited to 20 players in high school hockey. What if you’re the 20th kid on the roster and the transfer takes your spot at the last minute?