Sunday, November 11, 2007

Transfer problems in Guilford mirror Meck?

Mecklenburg County has, a bit unfairly, been labeled the transfer capital of the N.C. high school universe. I have always maintained that the issues here only mirror those elsewhere.

A very interesting article ran today in the Greensboro News & Record that claims thousands of kids are moving around schools. I'd suggest you click the link and read.

Given the problems South Mecklenburg had Friday with senior quarterback Jey Yokeley being called ineligible because his grandparents were not his legal guardians and his mother lived in Union County, I think the story has plenty of relevance here.

The current rules in Meck County to slow transferring allow ninth graders to pick a high school to play sports in and attend, so long as that school has room for you. There is some area for abuse there. The rest of the rule, not allowing you to play two sports for two schools or transfer anywhere other than your home school, for legitimate reasons, after you declare you school in ninth grade is strong. The best part requires students to physically move into a new school's zone, like Independence's Rod Chisholm did, in order to change schools for any reason.

Could the rules here use some tweaking? Yes. I'd eliminate the policy of choosing a school in ninth grade even though usually the desireable schools don't have room. I think the school board could help also by not allowing the draw lines to get changed so often. It would be nice to know for the next 10 years that if you go to middle school at Y, you'll play high school at X, or at least a group of Xs. Right now, you never know.

Anyway, check out the article. Tell me what you think
---------------------------------------------------------
Langston Wertz Jr.
lwertz@charlotteobserver.com

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

I definitely believe Mecklenburg County has this same problem and everyone knows it. Langston, I know you always take up for Rod....BUT, he did the same thing. He believed WC was not the best place for him to achieve his goals and moved to Independence. His move was legal, but it was definitely not for academic or living arrangement reasons. This problem is also quite evident in some of the struggling athletic programs ie. Garinger, Berry, Waddell. One particular area in Mecklenburg county does not raise great athletes. These great athletes move to an area so that they can play for the best teams. We must also notice that this move is NOT JUST FOR FOOTBALL. There are many schools now that have Lacrosse and great soccer and baseball programs. Some schools BEG people to just come play. How do I know? I use to play soccer at WC. We had to recruit people within the school who did not know the first rule. By the end of the season we barely had enough people on the team to keep us from forfeiting. On the other hand it was told to us that Myers Park and the GREAT PROVIDENCE would have about 100 girls going out for about 20 spots. Now this is ridiculous. I commend my alma mater for giving people an opportunity to learn a new sport and giving many people an opportunity in which they may have not received anywhere else. However, there is a problem, but until the school systems WANT to fix it, we cant. Like the article says, the rich schools will continue to get richer and the poor schools will continue to get in a deeper state of depression.

Anonymous said...

The 100 girls that try out for Providence soccer grew up in that district and have played soccer on travel teams since they were 9 years old. That's why the are GREAT PROVIDENCE. The same way that Providence is king in Volleyball, Tennis, Swimming, Diving, Golf, Lacrosse and Baseball. These are sports that take years to learn and require significant practice. Kids don't transfer to Providence for these sports.....they wouldn't make the team anyway!

Anonymous said...

They probably wouldn't make the grades either. LOL. Providence is way hard.

Anonymous said...

That article was one of the best articles I have ever read regarding the transfer rules/guidelines and actually calling out players and parents who appeared to be very open in telling their stories. I would love to see LW and the staff do the same with CMS, especially Independence. But I don't think your staff has the guts to do it. You are afraid of openign that Pandora's Box. Get a backbone and dig in deep.

Anonymous said...

Funny five of Independences top players transferred in. Where would they be without Pierce, Wooden, Chisolm, Carrothers, and Pugh? CMS has a big problem. Do a story on the transfers LW, and name all the players the big schools in CMS got.

Anonymous said...

rudphfIt's real simple folks...Chisholm doesn't transfer to Indy this year and they are nowhere near the team they currently are. End of story. So LW and others seriously think Chisholm transferred to Indy for their academic program? WOW!! Studs usually transfer to (a) strong high profile programs, that (b) have voids left by seniors. People think Knotts is such a great coach, gimme a break, he ain't nothing without talent-laden teams year after year. Try turning some coal into diamonds Tommy. Go to Garinger and let's see what you can do. Take on a project mr. magic man. Anyone can look good polishing diamonds.

Anonymous said...

Do you think that maybe there are a couple of journalists who wish they would have stood up for simple right against wrong when these juiced up baseball players were destroying the legacy of real record setting heroes?

Maybe a few who are ashamed that they deflected questions, turned a blind eye and continued to glorify the accomplishments of those who had a less than admirable advantage?

I don't think so. That would have taken character and guts.

We won't see anyone speaking out on this mess either.

Anonymous said...

I beleive this happens all the time in CMS. Kids should go to school where they live. There are kids playing at WC that live in Olympic's district. One brother attends Olympic the other atttends WC. There are kids at Indepencence that should be playing at Vance. One student is living with his girlfriends parents so that he can attend Independence.
You say you need proof, well go look for the truth. Do an article on all the kids that have transfered to a school to play a sport. I thought it was the job of the paper to investigate wrong doing. Don't wait to report the issues after the school turns themself in. If more kids/ parents were caught, this would be less and less a problem. CMS should punish the school and the player.

Anonymous said...

I would love to see the Observer do as good an article as Greensboro did exposing the truth in Guilford School District. My guess, as many have eluded to here, is they don't have the guts to go out on that skinny branch. Afraid some real journalism might expose the truth, God forbid.

Anonymous said...

Knotts could go to Garinger and turn it around. Quit hating and give the man his props, He is a winner and if he was at Garinger, then people would move in that zone , so there kids would play for him still.

Anonymous said...

Man get off of the Knotts thing. I don't know any other coach that has walked the hall of his school and found someone that looks like a football player and turned them into one ,and got them in to someone's college after they graduated HS.

Anonymous said...

I'll get off the Knotts thing when you arrogant Indy fans quit sweeping the process by which you continue to stack your team with transfer ins. All you give a crap about is State Championship rings and could care less how you got them, just so you can brag about them. Keep turning your heads, we understand why. I hope someone with some guts does a complete internal investigation into the past 7 years at your school.

Anonymous said...

Apparently there is a difference between good journalism and sports reporting, in Charlotte, but not in Greensboro.

Anonymous said...

what sucks is that south meck is sitting at home for one player and indy is still playing with aobut 5 of those players and at least the south meck problem was for the right reason. I mean come on LW right an article about how CMS schools mainly Indy have ineligible players and stop writing about how great they are. Yeah they are good but where would they be without the transfers.Indy should where south meck is right now

Anonymous said...

This Greensboro article is very interesting. We are all aware that many elite Charlotte athletes transfer to better programs in order to get more college attention. However rampant this issue may be, I would like it to be known that this is NOT the case with Jey Yokeley, and South Meck, the one player and school currently being punished. Lets think about this one for a minute...Jey left a playoff Charlotte Christian team where he threw 20 touchdowns last year to attend South Meck, who runs the double wing T offense and throws maybe 6 passes a game. South Meck hasn't been to the playoffs in 13 years and was coming off a 2-9 record. Is anyone really ignorant enough to believe that he transfered for the purpose of better college football recruitment?! The truth is, Jey grew up in the South Meck district for 12 years and wanted to enjoy his senior year, and to graduate with all his close friends. I know for a fact that many college scouts told Jey that this move HURT his recruiting. His family followed every guideline that CMS layed out for them, and they filled out a mountain of paperwork, and were told by numerous CMS officials that this would allow Jey to attend South Meck, and to play football. South Meck is being unjustly punished and it is about time someone did something about it. Langston, I love your articles and I ask that you would please read the e-mail that I sent your co-worker Ryan Basen, of which he chooses not to respond to. It explains this whole situation in grave detail. Ryan Basen I would really appreciate a response, and an explanation for why you chose Jey to pick on, and why you stalked his family while his mother courageously battles breast cancer. Jey Yokeley, and the South Meck program are innocent, and that fact needs to be documented. Langston, I would appreciate any help you may have and I will send you the e-mail that I sent to Ryan Basen, detailing the facts of this situation. Ryan Basen: This issue will not die until we at South Meck hear you defend your research, and get an explanation.
-Matt Hoehn, SM football senior captain, and close friend of the Yokeley family

Anonymous said...

New Jersey has a pretty good guideline regarding transfers. There, if you transfer to another school and earned a varsity letter in a sport, you are ineligible for the first 30 days of competition in that sport starting with the first game after enrollment. So imagine missing the first 5 games of the football season. That's a pretty big price to pay and it would definitely curb a lot of transferring. The only way to get around that rule that is if you have a change of address and your parent/guardian moves with you. If a family feels strongly enough to move to another district just for the purpose of athletics, let them go. You probably wouldn't want that kid or family around the program anyway.

North Meck Diehard said...

LW, I read the Greensboro article, and based on what was stated, the Grimsley QB is ineligible to play for them. The article stated that if ANY individual transferred in order to enroll in the IB program, and subsequently withdrew from that program, they are REQUIRED to transfer back to their original school. And the article quoted the QB as saying he has dropped out of the IB progam at Grimsley. The Guilford school system needs to enforce its rules just as CMS/South Meck was required to enforce them.
On a larger note, school systems need to either allow open transfers for athletic purposes and acknowledge it, or they need to adopt rules that are equitably/easily enforcable. And they should recognize that transfer for academic purposes and athletic purposes are very, very different. My suggestion (made once in your Q&A) is that if an individual plays in a varsity game with School A (whether as a freshman or any later year), then that individual CANNOT play that varsity sport for any other CMS school during his/her High School matriculation. While this could create difficulties if a student's family truly moves during the student's HS career, I suspect that very few in county moves are necessary for our athletes' families.
There are two rules that I have read about in recent articles that I like. One, a student must live with his/her legal guardian. Though growing up, these are still children that need their parents involved in their daily lives. To manipulate this need and relationship for athletics is wrong.
Second, the use of special academic programs should be carefully structured to prevent abuse. I would also suggest that entry into 'special' programs such as IB programs be required to occur as a student enters HS. And like Guilford's rule (as stated in the article), anyone withdrawing from such a progaram must return to their "home" school, even if this means they drop athletics in some/all sports. This rule would help ensure that students/parents didn't temporarily enroll their children in something just to get around the rules.
Note that above I specify participation in varsity games; not JV games. If an individual is not yet Varsity caliber, or unable to make Varsity for School A, then the transfer to another school cannot have a significant negative impact on that school's team. And I also would separate eligibility in one sport from another except to say that an individual can only transfer once during his/her HS career.

Anonymous said...

north meck diehard several of the items that you think should be rules in Meck County are in fact already established. I have followed high school football on a state and national level in depth for several years and heard the complaints of Meck County schools. I expect this mainly was because of the Indy domination. Believe me Wake, Durham, Guilford, and Cumberland (and probably others) are much more suspectible to transfer issues than CMS.

Anonymous said...

How can you fault a parent for wanting to give their child the best opportunity to go to college? Do you think Rod Chisholm would be going to Illinois if he lived in Garinger's district? Of course not.

TK and his coaches have been winning for years - they win everywhere they go. It has nothing to do with recruiting - they are great at what they do. Butler's teams the last few years have had many more D1 athletes than Indy but Indy keeps winning. No one is doing a story on Butler's transfers or whining about them - you know why? They haven't won anything. I'm guessing if they'd won the last 7 state championships, they would be the topic of discussion - not Indy.

Anonymous said...

Really, you think?. Those with repeated and continued success draw negative light to themselves because what they are doing is pretty impossible, i.e. Barry Bonds and steroids. No HS team is that good for 7 straight years without pulling in great talent from outside. People who defend Indy are too close to the situation to objectively comment on it anyways.

Anonymous said...

Indy's streak of wins is not the norm but it is not unusual for teams to win three, four, or more titles in a row in a state's largest football classification. Not including private schools: South Lake Carroll Texas, Hoover Alabama, Lakeland Florida, South Panola Miss, Rockhurst Missouri, Jenks and Union Oklahoma (shared eleven of last twelve and are five miles apart), Maryville Tennessee, Eden Prairie Minnesota, Warren Central Indiana all have won numerous state titles and have put together winning streaks over 60 games. Each of those squads has won at least three titles in a row.

Rod Chisholm has not been officially offered by Illinois. Still a possibility.

Anonymous said...

Independence has had great coaching, good players, and luck during the streak. A bounce of the ball could have caused defeats against three times before this season Butler and Providence each. Richmond County in 2003. Vance in 2006.

Independence seems to have been in a race and got a head start but the others are now catching up. Hate Indy if you want but their success has made others step it up and in turn Charlotte football is now by far the best in the state.

Anonymous said...

Yokely didn't leave South Meck to graduate with his friends. He lost his starting job at Christian to Bard, that is why he left. Someone knew this was a problem and blew the whistle, the Observer didn't come up with the idea to investigate South Meck on a whim. Someone knew his family had lived in Weddington for a couple of years, and didn't live in the SM area.

Anonymous said...

Transfer problems are everywhere. Many transfer, for sports, friends, and even more because they thing they are to good for the school they attend. However, I am glad to see any public school do well. Recruitment is rampant in many private school. Just look at Cardinal Gibbons and how they have racked up different state titles since being allowed into the public school sports arena. My hats are off to any public school that can beat all that funding. Why are private schools allowed in to the public school athletics? Isn't this even worse than the transfer problem? We allow this that to happen knowingly.

J. Bruce Shepherd said...

In a story such as this things are not always as they appear.

In Greensboro, it appears that some witers go overboard to get their stories, and officials are much too willing to release private information and cover their tracks.

(Greensboro News and Record writer) Robert Bell’s article “Era of Free Agents” is disturbing on many levels. I have addressed my concerns to Mr. Bell and he has encouraged me to write a letter to the editor.

Firstly, I find it unusual that Mr. Bell was on (Greensboro)Grimsley High School's campus to interview the students without an adult present. Both my son and the other student interviewed at the same time as he, feel their comments were taken out of context. Had an adult have been present, there would have been someone other than the two students there to confirm this. As it stands the reporter has the upper hand. Since the story is better with the boys’ comments as written, the reporter will of course stand by his story. Due to the nature of the story, if the students attempt to defend and/or correct their comments, it could be viewed as them changing their stories; because their stories are different from that of their parents. If the story stands as written, the boys, their parents, and the school system can be viewed as seeking and approving a transfer for athletic reasons. Either way the boys lose. Obviously, Mr. Bell has no concern about how this story could affect these young people.

I have to wonder why Mr. Bell chose to contact parents only after he interviewed the students instead of before.

Mr. Bell admitted in his conversation with me that he changed the tone and focus of his article between the time he interviewed the boys and when he interviewed me. The boys were lead to believe the article was about the social issues involved with transferring to a new school. Let’s keep in mind these are young people and students, not adults. During the course of the interview, playing football was discussed. My son’s comments, taken out of context, make it seem that he felt he was transferred to Grimsley to play football. This is in no way the case, nor what he said. Mr. Bell appears to have felt content to convey whatever meaning he chose based on phrases he elicited. I understand, from talking with others, that Mr. Bell has the reputation of misquoting interviewees on a frequent basis.

During the 2006/2007 school year, my son experienced difficulties with several of the coaches and several members of the staff and administration at (Greensboro)Page High School. While the initial focus of these problems may have been related in part to football, it was certainly not the reason for our decision to transfer our son from Page.

We made the decision to transfer Stefan away from Page, not to transfer him to Grimsley.

Contrary to what Mr. Bell may have inferred, I never stated the reason for the transfer was that Stefan “… had exhausted the advanced courses he could take at Page and that Grimsley offered more”. While we did request Grimsley as the school we preferred Stefan to attend, we did so not because of the lack of advanced courses at Page. We felt it in our son’s best interest to be away from Page, and Grimsley was not only the closest school to our home, but it also offered (in conjunction with Weaver Center) the next level in the Sci-Vis program that Stefan had excelled in during the last 3 years; something not offered at Page. Mrs. Jones, the Sci-Vis teacher at Page and a leading teaching in North Carolina in the Sci-Vis curriculum, recommended the course offerings at Weaver Center as a logical next step. It was Mr. Bell who chose to make Sci-Vis classes synonymous with advanced classes. Obviously, as he is not a teacher, nor a very good researcher, he was easily confused. Additionally, as I told Mr. Bell, Stefan was a minor child when the decision was made to transfer Stefan from Page and as such Stefan wasn’t consulted. The decision was made by his parents and other adults that had his best interests at heart. These adults included the Board of Education who extensively scrutinized our application.

Furthermore, contrary to Mr. Bell’s writing, I never conveyed to him that the transfer was based solely on academics. I just stated firmly that the transfer was not based solely on football. In fact, until we received the approval from the Guilford County Schools, (in late June of 2007) we did not know which school Stefan would attend. That in and of itself should dispel the notion that Stefan was transferred to Grimsley to play football.

Stefan was subjected to a plethora of unfair treatments at Page, not the least of which was being forced to attend a meeting with Head Coach Kevin Gillespie, Assistant Principal Charles Cockerham and Assistant Athletic Director Charles Barnes. My son was removed from his chemistry class while taking a test, and told he needed to meet with these three intimidating adults. Stefan requested that one or both of his parents be present at the meeting. His request was not only denied, but when his mother arrived at the school, she was denied access to the meeting. This type behavior was not only allowed by Dr. Terry Worrell (the principal at the time) and Mr. Rusty Lee, but apparently condoned by Dr. Grier (Superintendent of Schools)and a majority of the school board members.

Sadly, as reprehensible as this was, there were many more incidents such as this; each one worse than the next. I did not feel that it was necessary to go into this part of the reason for Stefan’s transfer from Page with Mr. Bell; however, due to the comment made by Athletic Director Rusty Lee, who was quoted in the article, and subsequent comments I have received from current Page Principal Marilyn Foley and Guilford County School Board Chairman Alan Duncan, I feel I have no choice.

I contend that Mr. Lee’s comment, "I can tell you unequivocally (Shepard) did not leave because of academics," was inappropriate, unprofessional, and in breech of the guidelines set out by the GCSS to protect student privacy as shown on the GCSS website. There it is written: “Recipients of student records should be cautioned that student information may not be released to third parties without the consent of the parent/guardian or eligible student”. In this case Mr. Lee would be the “recipient” and Mr. Bell the “third party”. Not only was Mr. Lee incorrect in his quote, he broke policy by commenting on what should have remained private. What is even more disturbing is that it appears Mr. Lee was instructed as to how to respond to Mr. Bell.

That Stefan transferred to Grimsley is public record – he is there. The reasons why or why not a transfer took place are private, and for an official (Mr. Lee) of the school system to convey information about a student is not appropriate. This is where Mr. Lee invaded Stefan’s privacy, and why his comments are in breech of the community’s trust. I have to wonder: if he is so willing to talk about my son’s private issues, can he be trusted to keep other private matters from becoming public?

I questioned Mr. Bell’s use of the quote. I also questioned Principal Foley’s and the School Board’s reasoning for allowing such a quote. Listed below are the comments I have received in answer to my questions regarding the appropriateness of Mr. Lee’s comment. All of the quotes were taken from emails sent to me.

From Mr. Bell, 11/15/07: “…Mr. Lee said he would have to talk with school officials before responding. When he called back, he told me that both Page and Guilford County School administrators had instructed him on what to say…”

From Ms. Foley, 11/15/07: “I can tell you that the reporter gave the slant to Mr. Lee that the transfer was due to Page’s poor academics. That was certainly a perception that would be an inaccurate portrayal of the academic programs here at Page. I was out of town and did not see the article. However, it was my understanding that Mr. Lee stated only that the transfer was not due to academics.

From Mr. Bell, 11/16/07: “I agree: You never questioned Page’s academics in our interview. Nor did I imply as much in my interview last week with Mr. Lee. I merely repeated to him the reasons you had explained to me for the transfer -- that Stefan had exhausted all the advanced courses available for him at Page. I spoke to Mr. Lee this morning and he confirmed this”.

“As I noted yesterday, Mr. Lee said last week in our interview he would have to talk to school administrators before comment. This morning, he said he interpreted your remarks as being negative and that he relayed as much to Dr. Foley last week”.

From Alan Duncan, 11/16/07: “Factually, the statement that is attributed to you in the article is not accurate given the number of Advanced Placement courses offered at Page. The clear inference left by your statement is unmistakably to the effect that Page's academic offerings were inferior to Grimsley's and the Board allowed the reassignment based on that fact. Any reassignment that was permitted for your son was not based on inadequate academic offerings at Page”

It is obvious that someone is not being completely truthful. Either Mr. Bell conveyed to Mr. Lee that my comments were something other than what they actually were, or Mr. Lee embellished Mr. Bell’s comments in an effort to get permission to comment. Either way, it was inappropriate for Mr. Lee to comment. Mr. Lee not only violated my son’s right to privacy, he blatantly defied my request from last year, a request of which Mr. Lee was fully aware: that he (Mr. Lee) was to have no contact with my son nor was he to comment on any situation regarding my son. This is in response to a situation in which Mr. Lee verbally attacked me in a public arena; a situation for which Mr. Lee was reprimanded, as confirmed by letter from Dr. Terry Worrell (former Page principal) in September 2006.

While I do feel that Mr. Bell was remiss in his handling of this article I feel that the comment made by Mr. Lee was inexcusable. The only thing worse than Mr. Lee making the comment is that it appears that his comment was a directive from Ms. Foley and ”Guilford County School administrators”. Apparently it is the opinion of Mr. Lee, Ms. Foley, and “Guilford County School administrators” that it is more important to defend an aspersion, thought to be cast against Page’s academics than it is to protect the privacy of a student, and follow policy.

For all of those who have commented on how wrong it was that my son be transferred for athletic reasons…it was because of the reasons I have stated here, and certain members of the Page staff and administration’s total disregard for policy, procedure and student welfare that my son was transferred away from Page. Fortunately for my son, the School Board decided he would attend Grimsley.

We are pleased that his school experiences at Grimsley have proven to be positive. We have hoped that the positive environment would help him to move past the negativity of his experiences of last year at Page. We are hoping that he will be able to move on to a productive future as a student and athlete, having learned from these experiences.

Unfortunately, due to Mr. Bell’s jaundiced journalism and Mr. Lee’s inappropriate comments, this will be more difficult than anticipated.

J. Bruce Shepherd