4 Most Impactful Questions to Ask When Deciding to Transfer Schools for Sports
So, I’m going to be honest.
I FULLY expected to sit down and write a blog post about high school student-athletes and the current trend of transferring schools at what seems like an astronomical rate and portray it in a negative light.
As someone that went to a large public school for 3 years (middle school in my area of Texas is 7th through 9th grade) and didn’t always see eye-to-eye with my coaches and didn’t appreciate the overwhelming emphasis put on football at my school, I completely understand those frustrations. Hey, I even transferred in college.
But, after returning to North Carolina from my college and professional careers, it was obvious that something had changed. To see kids leaving schools mid-season or going to 3 high schools in 3 years all in the name of chasing a scholarship, I was both taken aback and curious.
So, I was prepared to question what was going on and express my skepticism. But after doing some research on the topic, it appears that there are no EASY answers and no quick judgments can be passed.
But, based on the number of state governing body rules (examples found here, here, here, here and here. Plus the fact that lawyers are needed to help navigate the rule books! Lawyers! In high school sports!) and the HIGH rate with which kids leave schools now, I would argue that we have lost our way concerning what is in the best interest of high school kids trying to play collegiate team sports.
It’s easy to point to the rules as the source of the problem.
“Kids should be allowed to go to school where they want”, “kids should have to go to the school in their district”, “high school teams shouldn’t be all-star teams”, “this family is renting a fake apartment just so their son can play for that coach.”, etc.
These are all valid points of view and arguing against them or for them is understandable. After reading articles and hearing people’s personal stories, I finally came to the point of my frustrations.
It’s not that the rules are crazy, it’s the fact that the rules even need to exist in the first place. It’s frustrating to see kids go to 3 different high schools in 3 years.
It’s not that they can or can’t transfer, it’s the fact that they think that transferring that many times will help them. Maybe it will, but I believe in most cases, transferring more than once can point to a larger issue with the player, whether it be attitude problems, the unwillingness to overcome difficult times or, in many cases, that player has a false sense of how good he or she is and is looking for the mythical “perfect situation”.
So, I would like to offer 4 questions to kids who are thinking about transferring to another school for sports purposes. Also, parents, you need to think about these 4 question as well before making a final decision.
1. What Perception will College Coaches Have of Me if I Transfer?
I would urge kids and parents contemplating transferring to think about the perception that college coaches will have on this move. If you are good enough to gain the interest of college coaches: first, congratulations because you are a good player!
Second, know that the first question that coach will ask you, your parents and your high school coach will be “Why have you changed schools so often?”.
The answer to that question BETTER be good enough to convince that college coach that the player is loyal, possess good judgment and can be relied on to join his or her college program for the long-term.
2. High School Coaches Can’t Guarantee You Anything
Ask yourself this question, are you comfortable knowing that high school coaches can’t guarantee you anything? Such as:
And, are you comfortable knowing that playing on a better team may lower your playing time?
Basketball is a competitive game and true competitors want to win. But, as I’ve written before, playing on a better team may mean less playing time.
If the reasoning behind your move is to join a better team and thus, get more exposure, players must consider that playing on a better team with better players often means that minutes may be hard to come by.
Plus, the history of basketball is riddled with the stories of supposed “all-star” teams that have imploded. Beware of coaches and team situations that sound too good to be true!
3. Perfect Situation vs. Reality
Now, ask yourself what your perfect situation is and honestly assess if your hopes for that situation are reasonable!
We all want to be a part of a championship team where you play the majority of the minutes, you love the coach, you play the position you want to play, you start every game, you are friends will all of your teammates and you are the star of the team.
Maybe you are not looking for all of those things, but it’s important to really figure out what you’re looking for and determine if your expectations are too HIGH.
Team sports teach kids how to overcome adversity. Make sure you are not just running away from it.
4. Measuring Pros & Cons of Transferring
Lastly, did you measure all the pros and cons of transferring schools?
Did you consider your education, your social life, your friendships, and comfort level?
There were some things about school and my social life that I didn’t feel suited my personality. But, I had made some great friends and gotten a very good education.
It was not an easy decision and I struggled with it for months. Maybe I over-thought it. But if I did, I’m glad because it turned out to be the right decision for me.
Moral of the story: your level of comfort off the court can often affect your play on the court. Measure the pros and cons carefully!
I honestly believe that most people who transfer are doing what they think is right. They are doing what they believe will get their athlete the attention they want from college coaches.
With the price of college tuition these days, the obsession with getting an athletic scholarship is more than understandable.
I implore people to NOT make this an emotional decision and consider the questions I have posed in this article.
If you still decide you want to change schools, just as I did, then best of luck!
We would also like to hear from you if transferred specifically for sports, what were some of the good and bad effects that it had?
Thanks for reading!