Keith Edmonds is a 32-year veteran of teaching and school administration from Fort Wayne. He coached boys high school basketball as an assistant at Snider High School, North Side High School and was the head boys basketball coach at Elmhurst High School for 12 years, advancing to the Class 3A State championship in 2003.

TRANSFER. I hear this word a lot from student athletes and I wonder why it comes up so often. Where did it come from and why is it so prevalent in our society today?

I hear it from students, families, coaches and even school officials as a viable option for allowing young people to cure what ails them in regards in not being allowed to perform to the best of their abilities in athletics at their current school.

I think that as we take a look at why students transfer from either schools in their current area near their home, or choose to not even attend their district school, but choose to attend a school on the other side of town we have to look at the variables involved.

I connect the words student/athlete together because what gets forgotten in the transfer decision is that the young person and family making the decision must understand that the STUDENT entity comes first. You attend high school to GRADUATE first, not become this grandiose athlete. Now, if it so happens that you attain a certain athletic status then that is the added “icing on the cake” while you attend high school. We have to understand that kids are in school to be students first.

I talk to parents and coaches on almost a weekly basis and they ask me “Coach my son or daughter isn’t happy with their coach, do you think that I should transfer them to another school?” My responses are always the same:

1) Do you think that is the BEST move for your child and family? Because nothing is a given if you transfer.

2) Are they going to be happy leaving their comfort zone of teachers and friends in their current school just to chase an athletic dream at a new school? Let’s face it folks, 90% of all transfers (in my opinion) are for ATHLETIC purposes and we’re fooling ourselves if we think it’s for any other prevalent reason.

What if it doesn’t work out at the new school, and students become unhappy? That is what people fail to realize when considering transferring.  The of lack of playing time and not getting ample opportunity to display their talents at their current school is the central most reason families start to look at other schools for their kids to attend. 

Parents, please consider the BIG PICTURE as there are other factors that need to be taken into account when students transfer. All I’m saying is take your time and make an informed decision when contemplating transferring your son or daughter. There are times when you just need to “tough it out” and make the best of a very difficult situation. Yes, I understand that there are times when a relationship with a coach, team or school becomes disingenuous and needs to be looked into. 

I looked into the transfer rule for our state and found some interesting things in regards to transferring schools. Now without boring you with details of my findings I did find one particular bullet point to be interesting and one I’d like to share regarding athletics.

Your high school years will provide some of the most memorable and enjoyable moments you will ever experience. Competition in interschool athletics is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, which will influence you forever. But please remember that you are a STUDENT FIRST and you must be eligible to compete academically before entering the field of play.” 

Wow! I found this to be profound and hopefully something that everyone involved in the lives of these young people will adhere to, especially when considering transferring schools. Certainly we have schools and coaches that violate the “spirit of the rule” in regards to transfers, but I’d like to think that MOST schools (and athletic directors) throughout our area have enough integrity to enforce the transfer rules to the letter of the law.

We will continue to see athletes transfer from our area schools and I wish them the best of luck as they pursue what they need to be successful moving forward. It’s a difficult decision that needs to be thought out carefully and hopefully that student athlete will prosper in their new environment. There may have been promises made but nothing is a given.

Courtside with Coach Edmonds will appear every Monday during the prep basketball season at Outside the Huddle. These opinions represent those of the writer. No opinions expressed on Outside the Huddle represent those of any of our advertisers. 

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