Last Updated on August 14, 2023 by Michelle Ball
By Michelle Ball, Sacramento California Expulsion, Special Education, sports/CIF, College, Education and School Attorney/Lawyer for Students since 1995
CIF, the California Interscholastic Federation, is a problem for many California high school students, as CIF controls whether a student can participate in high school sports. Problems occur when a student transfers schools, but stays in the same home. Presuming no other restrictions apply, if this is the student’s first transfer in high school, the student will face a limited varsity sport SOP (Sit Out Period).
What Is the CIF Sit Out Period
A CIF sit out period is generally a time that a student may not participate in a varsity sport after they transfer for the first time in high school. A sit out period also applies if the student is on their second transfer, but their first transfer involved a full family move or involved an approved hardship.
The CIF bylaw which applies to sit out periods is 207(B)(5)b(ix) which states:
“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.”
What Does the Sit Out Period Mean?
If a student is subject to the SOP they cannot play in any sport which they played within the last year at their former school, regardless of whether they played at varsity or sub-varsity levels, until the sit out period is over. The student will sit out roughly half the varsity season.
So, if a season runs 120 days, the student cannot participate for 60 days. If the season is 121 days, the student will sit out of the sport for 61 days.
Who Does the CIF Sit Out Period Apply To?
The CIF sit out period applies to any student who transfers without moving, who meets all other CIF rules (e.g. they are not transferring based on discipline or to follow a coach and there is no preenrollment contact) and who has participated in the sport at the prior high school in the last year.
So, if a student entered ninth grade and played junior varsity (JV) baseball at one school, then switches schools for their sophomore year, but did not move, they should get a sit out period for varsity baseball at the new school.
If the student has not participated in the sport at their prior school, there is no sit out period.
What if a Student Switches Schools Midyear?
If a student played a sport at a former school, then transferred midyear, they cannot play that same sport at the new school that same school year.
Can a Student Play Any Sport Immediately on Transfer?
Students may play any sport at the new school which they did not play at their prior school so long as they meet all other CIF requirements.
If a student does not want to wait out the varsity sit out period, they can choose to participate in the sport at the junior varsity level, providing they cannot play the same sport at two different schools the same school year.
Parents Beware When Transferring Students
CIF student sports attorney Michelle Ball assists with transfers, sports issues, preparation and submission of CIF documents, and other student sports problems. As a student sports lawyer in Sacramento, Michelle can assist across California in Roseville, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Fresno, Auburn, Stockton, Marysville, Chico, Suisun City and many other towns.