K-12 EDUCATION

Big changes proposed for Utah high school sports involving local, international students

Apr 24, 2024, 4:09 PM | Updated: Apr 25, 2024, 9:46 am

Two proposals — one aimed at students attending schools on F1 visas and the other targeting all a...

Two proposals — one aimed at students attending schools on F1 visas and the other targeting all athletic transfers — were approved Wednesday by the executive committee of the Utah High School Activities Association. (Amy Donaldson)

(Amy Donaldson)

MIDVALE, Utah — Some massive changes could be coming to high school sports in Utah.

Two proposals — one aimed at students attending schools on F1 visas and the other targeting all athletic transfers — were approved Wednesday by the executive committee of the Utah High School Activities Association.

The changes are an effort to do two things. First, reduce the number of transfer appeal hearings conducted when student-athletes want to switch to another high school. Second, crack down on allegations that some schools are recruiting international student athletes to play at local private high schools.

“In my time here, this is the most organized, widespread, and pernicious recruiting scheme I’ve seen,” said Mark Van Wagoner, attorney for the association for nearly 50 years, referring to a network of club coaches and independent scouts who sent teenage athletes from other countries to private schools in Utah. He encouraged the committee members — mostly high school principals — to take action and send both proposals to the group’s board of trustees, which will consider the changes on May 1.

“We can’t continue to not meet the problem,” Van Wagoner said. “Because this is causing harm to the association, it’s causing harm to children.”

Van Wagoner said there are ongoing investigations into the recruiting of F1 visa student-athletes, and at one point, he held a thick envelope of documents aloft to indicate he has been inundated with evidence of recruiting complaints.

Please read Amy Donaldson’s complete story at KSL.com.

 

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Big changes proposed for Utah high school sports involving local, international students