Last Updated on March 17, 2021 by Michelle Ball
By Michelle Ball, California Education Attorney for Students since 1995
The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), which governs all high school sports, has yet again changed the time a student must sit out of a sport [Sit Out Period (SOP)] when transferring for the first time without a family move. This rule should apply until August 2019 when they may or may not change it again.
CIF is a problem child for many California high schoolers, as they can be very strict and can stop a student’s ability to participate in varsity level sports, often without all the facts. One common issue is when a student transfers schools their first time, but their family does not move. If this student does not transfer based on a discipline matter and have not transferred in high school before (ensuring they generally won’t play for a year), they will face a limited varsity SOP at the new school for any sport where they participated at their former school.
Previously, CIF had specific sit out dates for various sports. However, as of today, CIF has implemented a 50% (plus one day if the season days is an odd number of days) sit out rule. The amended rule, in bylaw 207 B(5)b(ix) states in part:
The Sit-Out Period will be 50% of the total number days in that particular season of sport. The number of days in a season is determined by each Section in accordance with their first allowable competition date through the final regular season competition date. If total number of days in a season is an odd number, then the Sit Out Period would be 50% plus one additional day.
This means if a season went 120 days, the student could not participate for 60 of the 120 days. If it was 121 days, the student would sit out 61 days.
Additionally, if a student played in the same sport at the prior school during the same school year they transferred, they would not be able to play at all that year. Other various rules apply as well.
CIF is the bane of many parents lives, and will usually strictly apply rules with few options for appealing SOPs imposed except under certain limited bases. Parents beware when moving your sports-playing students.
Education Attorney for Students
LAW OFFICE OF MICHELLE BALL
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Please see my disclaimer. This is legal information, not legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is formed by this posting. This blog may not be reproduced without permission from the author and proper attribution of authorship. This blog may not reflect the current state of the law.