D.C. Area Athletic-Based Transfers Becoming an Alarming Trend

December 6, 2013 / Athletic AdministrationCoaching
Washington Post


The District’s high school football championship — Washington’s equivalent to a state title game — was Clark Ray’s first key task two years ago. D.C.’s top high school athletic official will watch like a proud father as H.D. Woodson and Friendship Collegiate play Friday night . But he’ll leave the stadium firm in his hopes that the game never looks quite like this again.

Over the past two decades, Washington’s high school football fields have slowly turned into an open marketplace, with schools and coaches competing to attract the best talent, and Friday’s game will be a showcase of what Ray considers to be an alarming trend.

H.D. Woodson is just a season removed from losing its longstanding coach after an investigation revealed it used an ineligible player from Maryland. The school is just a few months removed from a residency investigation of its best player, who transferred schools twice in six months.

On the other sideline, Friendship Collegiate has been investigated at least four times in the past year in relation to transfers and currently has four players under review for possible residency infractions and a staff member on probation for recruiting.

“Academics are a right, but athletics . . . they’re a privilege. So you can’t just change schools to participate in athletics,” Ray said of a trend that has come to define high school football in the area. Ray, the D.C. State Athletic Association athletic director, put into effect new regulations to curb the practice this year.

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