Sam Bordner did not argue or put up a fight after transferring from Liberty Union to Bloom-Carroll in summer 2012.
Bordner, a sophomore, knew he would have to sit out a year of athletics and he accepted that as the price for switching schools.
“It was really boring at first,” Bordner said. “But me and my parents had a long talk about it, and I accepted the consequences. It wasn’t that big of a deal.”
Had he been eligible right away, Bordner would have played football, basketball and baseball this school year at Bloom-Carroll. Instead, he had a variety of tasks while essentially serving as a manager for each team.
In football, Bordner was the signal-caller for the offense. For the baseball team, Bordner has done anything from warming up outfielders in between innings or acting as bullpen catcher for relievers.
Bordner said Bloom-Carroll’s successful athletic program played a role in his decision to transfer there and did not complain about having to sit out a year. He said he did not think it caused harm to his future, and the worst part about the past year was a lack of exercise.
“I have no regrets,” Bordner said. “I am very strong in the decision I made.”
Ohio High School Athletic Association member principals passed a new rule this week that would change transfer regulations for cases such as Bordner’s. Transferring students no longer will have to sit out a full year of athletics. Instead, students who move schools after the fifth day of their freshman year will be ineligible for half of the season for every sport he or she played at a previous school.
The proposal passed by about 60 votes.
“We thought that a youngster missing a whole year of competition would cause irreparable harm,” OHSAA commissioner Dan Ross said Thursday in a teleconference.
The new rules are a staunch relaxation from previous years, when it seemed the OHSAA was strong in trying to prevent athletics-fueled transfers. The OHSAA ruled students ineligible even if their families physically moved into another school district if the move was perceived to be based on athletics.
The OHSAA essentially has opened the gates for transfers in exchange for fewer appeals and loopholes. The number of exceptions to the transfer rules in the OHSAA bylaws has decreased, and the idea going forward seems to be simple: If a family physically moves from one district to another, the student is eligible to play sports right away. If not, half a season must be surrendered.
One drawback Ross pointed out was half a season not being a big enough deterrent to kids who would transfer and be able to play in the postseason of multiple sports.
“I could see youngsters doing that at two or three different places in the same year,” Ross said.
Despite any possible negative consequences, the new rules are simpler for students, school administrators and the OHSAA. Many dilemmas about eligibility will be gone, and — for better or worse — the entire transfer process will be smoother.