IGHSAU Board of Directors Position Statement About SF 159 Section 53

The Board of Directors of the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union believes that educationally-based athletics are an important component of the educational experience.

Being part of a team provides many benefits for all participants, including the development of life skills, regardless of the competitive success of that team.

The proposals currently pending in the Iowa Legislature to revise Iowa Code § 282.18(11) raise concerns for our member schools. We oppose the elimination of current provisions and believe that any changes to transfer rules should be subject to thorough review, with proposed revisions given deliberate consideration.

The question of which school a student may attend is distinct from that student’s eligibility to compete in extra-curricular activities at that school. The IGHSAU exists for the mutual benefit of its member schools and the students they serve. It governs competition for the benefit of member schools. The current proposal would severely limit the ability of the IGHSAU to carry out this mission.

High school sports create a sense of community and serve to unify our students, parents and communities. Our programs are centered around teams, not individuals. If individuals become “free agents,” as this legislation would allow, many of these benefits will be lost.

To preserve the community-based nature of high school athletics, we must preserve the ability to regulate eligibility.