The Ohio High School Athletic Association

Understanding the OHSAA Transfer Bylaw

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Updated May 20, 2015

Understanding the OHSAA Transfer Bylaws

The OHSAA receives more inquiries about eligibility in terms of the transfer bylaw than any other aspect of eligibility.

A student is considered to have transferred whenever (a) enrollment is changed from one school to another school, or (b) the student participates in a practice, scrimmage or contest with a school-sponsored squad of a school in which the student has not been enrolled unless the non-enrolled student’s participation is pursuant to O.R.C. §§ 3313.5311 (Ohio non-public school students), or 3313.537 (Ohio community/STEM school students).

The basic transfer bylaw is quite simple. If a student transfers at any time after the fifth day of the student’s ninth grade year or after having established eligibility by playing in a contest (scrimmage, preview/jamboree, Foundation game or regular season/tournament contests) until the one year anniversary of the date or enrollment in the school to which the student transferred, the student shall be ineligible for all contests (including all scrimmages, preview/jamboree/Foundation game) until after the first 50% of the maximum allowable* regular season contests in those sports in which the student participated during the twelve months immediately preceding the transfer have been competed.

Note #1 –For the purposes of this bylaw, a student is considered to have participated in a sport if he/she has entered, if for only one play, a scrimmage or contests at any level of competition/contests (e.g. freshman, junior varsity and varsity).
Note #2 – If a student transfers during the season of a sport in which he or she has participated, and Bylaw 4-7-3 requires that the student is ineligible for participation in the remainder of the contests in that sports season, at the commencement of that sport during the next school year, the student remains ineligible for the pre-season contests (scrimmages, preview/jamboree, Foundation game) and up to 50% of the regular season contests in that sport. The total number of regular season contests for which the student will be ineligible is a function of the number of regular season contests in which he or she was ineligible in accordance with 4-7-3.
Note #3: With regard to state law permitting non-enrolled students to participate for the schools in their residential districts, the definition of transfer is applicable only to the specific sport that the student played at the school in which the student was not enrolled. When that student returns to the enrolled school to participate in a different sport, the transfer bylaw does not apply.

In the event of a student transfer, no ruling is required from the Commissioner’s Office, and no paperwork is necessary if that student’s transfer does not meet an exception to the transfer bylaw or if the student did not participate in any OHSAA recognized sport at any high school in the previous 12 months. Understanding that basic rule is fundamental to dealing with transfer students.

Of course, in our society today, students do indeed change schools for various reasons. The member schools have identified a few transfer scenarios that they recognize should be exempted from the general transfer bylaw. To deal with those limited scenarios our member schools have adopted 10 exceptions, one of which MAY apply to a student who changes high schools. The use of the word MAY is instructive since not all transfer students can meet one of these exceptions and for each of these exceptions (unless no ruling is required as in exception 3), the transfer student is INELIGIBLE until ruled eligible by the Commissioner’s Office. For a student to avail herself/himself of one of these exceptions, action on the part of the member school administrator as well as the OHSAA staff is required. The purpose of this series on the Transfer Bylaw is to provide guidance as to the required action on each of the exceptions, if applicable.


*Maximum Allowable Contests in All OHSAA-recognized sports and Formula for Determining Eligibility under the 50% Transfer Consequence


Maximum # of Contests as per the OHSAA Board

Transfer Student Ineligible Until


27 Games

Game 14

Basketball (Boys and Girls)

22 Games

Game 12


24 Matches

Match 13

Cross Country (Boys and Girls)

16 Meets

Meet 9

Field Hockey

16 Games

Game 9


10 Games

Game 6


18 Matches

Match 9


14 Meets

Meet 8

Ice Hockey

35 Games

Game 18

Soccer (Boys and Girls)

16 Games

Game 9


27 Games

Game 14

Swimming and Diving(Boys and Girls)

16 Meets

Meet 9

Tennis (Boys and Girls)

22 Matches

Match 12

Track and Field (Boys and Girls)

16 Meets

Meet 9


22 Matches

Match 12


20 Points

Point 11




·        Bylaw 4-7-4 - Intra-District/System Transfer

·        Bylaw 4-7-6 - Intra-District Transfer

·        Bylaw 4-7-7 - Intra-System Transfer

·        List of Sample Situations - Change in Educational Programs


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