Law Office of Michelle Ball CIF,sports Improved, But Still Confusing CIF High School Sports Transfer Rules

Improved, But Still Confusing CIF High School Sports Transfer Rules


Last Updated on March 18, 2021 by Michelle Ball

By Michelle Ball, California Education Attorney for Students since 1995

Recently, the California Interscholastic Federation, aka CIF, the governing body for high school sports in California, softened their interdistrict transfer rules for the better.  It is still confusing, but students should benefit from this move.

Previously, there was a single transfer allowed without  a “valid change of residence” (a “valid change of residence” is moving house to house) prior to the tenth grade year.  Under the amended CIF Rule 207, a student may transfer without moving, and may be able to compete at a new school after a “sit out period.” This can be during any year of high school, so long as this is their first transfer without a “valid change of residence.”  

How this works is, say student A played junior varsity or varsity football at School X.  They thereafter transfer to School Y prior to the first football game that year without a “valid change of residence.”  So long as this is the student’s first such transfer, this football star can practice with the new team and may be able to play after an October first sit out period.  

If the same student moves to School Y after the first football game is played, the local CIF office will determine the student’s sit out period individually.

Other restrictions also apply (not all listed here).  For example, a student may not compete in the same sport at two different schools during the same school year, and the transfer cannot be for discipline reasons.  So if Student A played football at School X that schoolyear, the student could not compete for the new
School Y football team that schoolyear.  Or, if a student moved due to an expulsion agreement, they also may be prohibited from competing at School Y.

For now, it should be easier for some students to switch schools and keep participating in their favorite sports.  For more information, see the CIF website here.  Go team!

1 thought on “Improved, But Still Confusing CIF High School Sports Transfer Rules”

  1. Unknown says:

    I'm confused by all this maybe somebody can point me to the right place. My son goes to a small public junior high outside the boundaries of the district where I live. He has been there for 8 years. The school feeds into to high schools one of which is where I live and his older brother goes to High School. But almost every single person from his graduating call of 30 will be going to the High School that is not in my district. Obviously he wants to be with his life long friends which of course I think is best for him.

    Further complicating things his mom lives within school district of the school he wants to attend, but is in the boundaries of another school.

    The distracts states he will have to sit out one year if he attends the school that none of us reside within the boundaries of.

    When my ex and I divorced this was an issue I brought up for fear my ex would try to force him to change school and the judge order he should be allowed to attend this high school with his friends.

    But I am having problems finding anything about incoming Freshman. The thing is, he is a terrible athlete, but I don't want him sitting around playing video games for a year lol. So under this rule is he eligible in OCT?

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