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Let UHSAA enforce its own rules

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I can't figure out how to convince my daughters that keeping a clean room is in their best interest.

I was consulting a great parenting book, but then it occurred to me, why should I try to come up with a solution that fits the needs of just my family, when the Utah Legislature could probably solve this problem for all mothers?

The Legislature seems to get involved in so many other things that are someone else's responsibility that it seemed a lot easier to let them write a law mandating my kids keep their rooms clean.

You think I'm being silly, but it's not as far-fetched as one may think.

Micromanagement doesn't really begin to describe some of this year's proposed bills. One of them, SB81, attempts to create new eligibility and transfer rules for two groups of students — home school and charter school students.

If there are issues unique to these two groups, and there are, then why not take those issues up with the people who are responsible for the rules and their enforcement?

Too logical, I know.

State law designates the Utah High School Activities Association as the agency responsible for writing and enforcing the rules regarding sanctioned extra-curricular activities. That includes eligibility and transfer requirements.

The UHSAA, in accordance with the State School Board's rules and regulations, has an entire handbook of rules regarding prep sports, including who can participate and how.

So it would seem that if the rules governing home school or charter school students need to be modified, a person or people would go to the UHSAA to make a case for any changes.

But why go to the agency that is responsible for governing those issues when you can just make a law that overrides any rule the UHSAA has? Why allow for the many checks and balances of the system to work? Why let those most affected by these policies debate and discuss them before instituting new rules?

SB81 would prevent the state's transfer rules from affecting those attending charter schools in the school's first three years of existence. It also makes it easier for home school students to participate in activities and athletics at public or charter high schools.

Home school students are already eligible to participate in activities at public high schools, but they have to go through their districts to make sure the students meet academic eligibility requirements. This bill would eliminate that mandate.

It's interesting to me that this bill is proposed after the trouble that American Leadership Academy, a 2A charter school in Spanish Fork, has had with the state's transfer rules in its first year as a member of the UHSAA. The school was recently disciplined for choosing to play several football players that coaches and administrators knew were not eligible at the time.

UHSAA staff and ALA administrators met last month and discussed in detail the many problems that have occurred regarding transfers to the school, and everyone was optimistic that the situation would improve.

If SB81 becomes law, there will be no need for charter school administrators to learn or abide by the state's rules regarding transfers or recruiting. Instead, they will have free reign to do as they please the first three years of their charter, which is plenty of time to build solid programs.

Maybe this is an indication that the state should let every school have open enrollment policies, even for athletics. It would be more fair than giving special status to certain students, which is what SB81 does.

Transfers and eligibility are complicated issues that should be investigated, managed and solved by the people assigned to deal with those issues. Otherwise, why have the UHSAA at all?

E-mail: adonaldson@desnews.com