I am more open to this that I thought, especially after the personal stuff I had to go through this year. Also, this is going to be long and probably rambling. Sorry.
The bill would allow for a one-time transfer. After that, you must sit out a year.
Why I think this may be OK
It is really hard to prove that someone was recruited or why they moved and why they transferred. I know we all like to think we know (if it quacks like a duck...), but the reality is that there are many factors that could play into a transfer and/or move. Unless you are part of the family, you just don't know. I feel like it puts the UIL in a real tough position and many times they make the wrong one. The system is not fair as it stands. Not all DEC are created equal and the waiver process has something like a <5% acceptance rate. Just because a kid is a good athlete doesn't mean they transfer for athletic reasons.
Now I will admit, this probably sits different in cities vs. Class A school, but the reality is that the UIL has to have one set of rules and they do not always help student athletes.
People move and change schools. If you give the one-time transfer, you get rid of a lot of politics and good kids getting hosed.
Especially in cities, families must move. Most of the time it's due to economics. My son has a friend whose family was forced out of their house due to rising rents. They had to move further out of town and transfer. Ended up at a rival school. Now they have to explain to the schools/UIL their economic situation. Honestly, it is none of their GD business. Both kids in the family have been qualifying for regionals and state since freshman year. Had to compete as JV until cleared up. Not good for anyone.
Another went to a magnet school in middle school, then didn't go to either his local high school, nor the magnet high school. He went to a school in the same school district that had a specific honors program (aka he went for ACADEMICS). He was denied. This kid was an solid athlete and due to his family not really knowing their rights and the coaches being new and not wanting to rock the boat, he was on the JV all season winning every race he entered and missed an entire varsity season. The story gets worse. After the fall season, the kid starts feeling poorly. Goes to the doctor. He has Leukemia. He missed his only chance to compete in varsity in high school because of some stupid rules and lazy adults who interpreted them.
I personally had to go through a bunch of BS after my son transferred this past semester after his first semester of his freshman year. We didn't want to do it, but had to for his own mental health. Kid made straight A's and won the varsity 5A district XC meet, but was not doing well for other reasons. Needed to transfer. Got immediately denied varsity eligibility. He moved from 5A to 6A and our local school, three blocks away from our house. He had to go through the waiver process and share a lot of personal stuff that should be no business of UIL and the DEC. I won't get into the details, but despite the support of a counselor and coaches, an administrator on the campus he was leaving refused to support us in any written manner. We had to pay $100 and just wait for a decision. As a parent I have never been more angry at the UIL. Thankfully we were one of the <5%, but I had a lot of sleepless nights as we just waited.
This episode placed me in the shoes of parents whose kids MAY have transferred for athletic purposes, but I recognized there are also other factors as a parent. Sure your kid may want to play for a certain coach or a certain team. Why not just move schools? Maybe the coach is an a-hole or your kid is a basketball player at a school where the coach isn't any good. Why not move to provide opportunity and happiness? The reality is families do this all the time, but some DEC let it slide while others don't. Providing some rails (i.e., one free change) allows the field to be level to all.
I know a basketball kid whose family moved across town and into a different apartment just so the kid could play basketball at a better school. Everyone knew he was a D1 prospect and the DEC approved the kid to play varsity immediately as a sophomore. No questions asked. Why? Who knows? Some DEC just allow this sort of thing back and forth. If you don't question mine, I won't question yours. Happens all of the time.
Why NOT to compare this to the NCAA Transfer Portal as it exists today
The bottom line is college kids need to be allowed to transfer. If coaches can leave, why not the kids? The kids make that decision when they are 17 and believe it or not, we all make dumb decisions at that age. Maybe the school wasn't the right fit. Maybe a family member gets sick and you need to be closer to home. Maybe the coach changes your scholarship amount. The NCAA has been like the UIL is allowing some, but not all.
The Transfer Portal has made it fair for all.
The problem with the transfer portal if the lack of enforcement AFTER the one-time transfer. The NCAA is beginning to tighten this up, but was reluctant in the beginning.
It also appears to look bad because you are also allowed a grad transfer year AFTER your one free transfer, which is completely acceptable. You have your degree. You have eligibility. Why not go somewhere different and get another degree?
The problem is that with all of the extra COVID years of eligibility, this has ballooned. Thankfully, the final year those kids have is next year. Afterwards, that will all start to look normal.... hopefully.
Lots of rambling here... just not sure this bill is a horrible idea. Four years ago, I probably would be on the other side. Change is needed.