The knows that parents go "school shopping" for their kids, but that's not unique to this city or even this region, District Athletic Director Jim Smrekar said Thursday.
"If at some point you have a son or daughter, and for some reason you want them to go to a certain school, we all know there are ways for you to make that happen–legally or illegally," Smrekar said.
He said the district–like all others in the state of California–has open enrollment for every high school not at capacity, and that while the process is closely monitored, it's impossible to guarantee it won't be manipulated.
Pleasant Grove and Franklin are the only high schools in the district that are at capacity and don't accept open enrollment transfers.
Smrekar was responding to .
Smrekar said there's nothing illegal about using the open enrollment program–which was originally intended to let parents choose the academic program they think is best for their kids–for sports.
"Do we have student athletes who go through the open enrollment process? Yes, we do," he said by phone. "There's nothing illegal about a student athlete using the open enrollment process. I can't pretend to pass judgment on what their reasons are."
But there are special rules that apply to athletes attending a high school when they don't live in its attendance area. For example, the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) requires athletes to sit out a period of games when switching to a new school. That "sit-out period" was recently reduced from one year to one month.
And it's illegal for high school coaches to try to recruit potential players.
Smrekar pointed to the district's coaching handbook (attached to this article as a PDF), which instructs coaches to immediately refer anyone not in their school's attendance area to the athletic director.
He said the district's athletic directors meet monthly, and transfers are always the first item on their agenda.
"We look for any improprieties, we discuss those openly, and [we discuss] if anybody had any concerns that somebody was being recruited," Smrekar said. "The fact of the matter is for the most part it's parents doing school shopping."
He said while there will always be ways to get around the system–simply moving or using a fake address, for example–the district does everything in its power to keep the transfer process legitimate.
"We take the necessary steps to try and ensure that the process is above board," he said.
What do you think of the district's open enrollment policy? Is it fair? Do parents manipulate it? Tell us in the comments section below.