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PREP SPORTS: Discourage athletes from ‘loading up’

Letter by Lyle Laws, Puyallup on June 22, 2012 at 2:30 pm with 46 Comments »
June 22, 2012 2:30 pm

When I read that two outstanding high school basketball players were changing schools to team up with a friend who is also highly rated (TNT, 6-22), I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the coaches, the other players and the fans who have supported them. Anyone who follows high school sports knows that more and more this is becoming a common practice, and some changes should be made.

Maybe it is time to rule that students who begin high school in one school within a district will only be eligible to play for that team for the reminder of their high school years, and that if kids who have played varsity ball in another district move in they will not be eligible for one year.

Such a plan may seem like very strong medicine, but allowing young athletes to beat the system by “loading up” is grossly unfair to the coaches who have helped them develop their skills, the teammates they will leave behind and the students in their former schools.

Leave a comment Comments → 46
  1. surething says:

    Another Friday Lyle letter. Yawn.

  2. SwordofPerseus says:

    Oh no! The kids are taking an example from pro sports and applying this to high school, who would have thought that the bad examples provided by professional ball players would have such an effect.

  3. The kids are using market economics and when that goes against the grain for those on the extreme right they become hypocrites, again. Regulate kids, but not the big boys on Wall Street. That’s what conservatives do and it is what conservatism means. They are reactionaries.

  4. For some of these kids athletics are the only way to college, and the very few, a professional sports career. Gotta do what ya gotta do to survive!

  5. lylelaws says:


    “The kids are using market economics.” What the hell are you talking about? That was a less than pathetic comment.

    Are you OK with kids ganging up on other kids? That’s what is going on, but I guess it is OK with you.

    Would it still be OK if you had a son or daughter who was cheated out of a chance to play on a championship team because other kids loaded up and played for one team?

  6. lylelaws says:


    What about the kids who didn’t get scholarships because their teams were overwhelmed by loaded teams?

  7. BigSwingingRichard says:

    Kids transferring to one of the worst rated academic schools in the state to play basketball on hopefully one of the best basketball teams in the state is endemic the current status of misplaced priorities in public education today.

  8. lylelaws says:

    While we are on the subject of fairness, let’s mention something else that needs changing.

    Unless the rules have been changed since I last heard, individual school districts are allowed to set their own elgibility standards. That should not be. There should be statewide standards to insure that all kids meet the same basic requirments.

  9. Lyle: yes, its unfortunate, but private schools are over-loaded w/the best teachers, etc., Yankees have been overloaded forever; rich neighborhoods are overloaded w/ the best schools, police dept., etc……thats the American way!

  10. SandraKirstan says:

    Private schools can hand pick their teams

  11. lylelaws says:


    I don’t know of any reaason why private schools couldn’t be held to the same standards.

  12. lylelaws says:

    I think it would be great if someone with great and well-deserved stature like Lincoln High’s football coach, John Kitna would lead the charge to bring about changes that would make sure that all kids meet the same requirements and play by the same rules.

  13. Obviously, our “sports fan” liberals didn’t bother to read the article.

    All three kids in question will be seniors on next years team. One has committed to Cal, one has schollie offers from Gonzaga, Wazzu, Utah, and Colorado. The third individual no doubt will have college offers no matter if he had stayed at Mt. Rainier or transferred.

    The only reason for the transfers is to win a championship. There are no academic advantages, and no exposure advantage as all three teams in question were playoff teams last year, and one was State 2A champ.

    This is not a political or class thing, libs, it’s about something (apparently) selectively near and dear to you; fairness. Getting a scholarship to a private school is one thing. Moving in with the brother of a friend of an ex-sweetherts’s mother’s cousin in order to enroll in another school for athletic reasons is quite another.

    You can take your racedar ears off.

  14. bobcat1a says:

    Solve the problem. Take all athletics, except intramurals, out of the public schools and make them community sponsored leagues. Problem solved.

  15. Lyle, taking advantage of the best offer is market economics. You are a slow learner it seems. The market for your skills is shrinking.

  16. Very Strong Rumor: Braxton Tucker, first team all league from Spanaway Lake….also going to Lincoln

  17. LeePHill says:

    “Getting a scholarship to a private school is one thing. Moving in with the brother of a friend of an ex-sweetherts’s mother’s cousin in order to enroll in another school for athletic reasons is quite another.”

    So….once again…..money wins.

    How about open enrollment for anyone so that kids without mommy and daddy’s money can attend where they’d like?

  18. So….once again…..money wins.

    Says the guy who actually claims to have gone to Bellarmine.

    So which is it; “do as I say, not as I do”, or “I got mine… but, trust me, I really really feel your pain”?

    How about open enrollment for anyone so that kids without mommy and daddy’s money can attend where they’d like?

    LMAO… so, in your world, “private” would mean a military rank (assuming you would allow a military), every other non-public sector enterprise would be forced to have “open enrollment”.

    Hmmm there’s a political system that espouses such “collective” ideology… now what is it… ?

    Better question; how about establishing charter schools and education tax credits so that “kid’s without mommy and daddy’s money (that would apparently exclude you) can attend” schools where academics are emphasized over the myth of athletic success?

    Schools like this:


  19. LeePHill says:

    “Says the guy who actually claims to have gone to Bellarmine.”

    Wrong, Clamato. My son attended there.

    That is still not an excuse for private schools to have an advantage.

    You see, THAT is what is called “integrity”. Learn it.

  20. So it’s “do as I say, not as I do”. Thanks for clarifying.

  21. SwordofPerseus says:

    Money always triumphs over good…

  22. Private schools, the best athletes money can buy!

  23. LeePHill says:

    Clamato – not only do you suffer at math, your analogies make no sense. Regardless of my ability to send my son to a private school, I don’t endorse them having the ability to recruit and scholarship for athletics.

    Did you get it that time?

    Since you brought this up, Bellarmine, although a participant in the state AAAA tournament last year and past years, is a AA sized school for enrollment. I have never known them to take advantage of “scholarships” for athletics. My son, who was all-conference when he played, attended private schools his entire life, thus wasn’t recruited for his athletic abilities.

    My point is to make all public schools open enrollment, then athletes could attend any school they’d like.

    Sorry I made my point so complicated earlier. I’ll try to dumb down.

  24. My point is to make all public schools open enrollment, then athletes could attend any school they’d like.

    No, your “point” was to “open enrollment for anyone so that kids without mommy and daddy’s money can attend where they’d like”. You are clearly talking about private schools, otherwise the “money” factor makes no sense.

    Once again, the Hilsl have lies.

    But keep up with the walk-back fairy tales, Larry. It’s really quite comical… and so becoming of you.

    Regardless of my ability to send my son to a private school, I don’t endorse them having the ability to recruit and scholarship for athletics.

    And since your son’s “daddy” has enough money to send him to private schools, you’re just another reminder of hypocritical liberals who vote against school vouchers, education tax credits, and the formation of charter schools, yet send your kids to private schools.

  25. lylelaws says:

    It is hard to fault parents who want their kids to be coached by the best, and during the time that Dick Hannula’s Wilson Rams won 323 consecutive swimming meets a number of families moved into the area.

    Dick may be the best swimming coach ever and he is a man of absolute integrety who would never have done anything underhanded, but the existing elgibility rules allowed transfer students to participate in the program.

    Here again, if students who have earned a varsity letter in a sport transfer to another district to take advantage of a strong program had to forfeit a year of elgibility before they could participate, it would go a long way toward making a more level playing field for all kids.

  26. Forfeiting one year of eligibility is the requirement for all NCAA transfers, unless the program from which the student-athlete transfers has been given the dreaded “Death Penalty” sanction. I don’t think it would be unreasonable for our public/ private schools in most cases either. But it does get a bit sticky in the case of a student who transfers from public to private school. Tough to punish a kid for taking the opportunity to put themselves in a better academic environment.

  27. LeePHill says:

    Lylelaws – having attended Wilson High School in the 1960s, I can attest that all of the swim team members were residents of the Wilson boundaries.

    I’ll say this once more for the reading impaired. All public schools should have open enrollment so that private schools have no competitive edge.

    Those that don’t understand are just plain….oh well

  28. lylelaws says:


    I didn’t say that any of the kids did not live within the boundaries, but that some of them had moved into the area to be a member of a winning team and be coached by an outstanding instructor.


  29. Lyle, I’m sure you’re already aware that, as evidenced here and in many other threads, Mr. Hill is an expert at turning the mirror around.

  30. alindasue says:

    jnw said, “Private schools, the best athletes money can buy!”

    As I understand it, this issue here is athletes transferring to Lincoln High, not a private school. Lincoln sits in the middle of a blue collar neighborhood and, given its high number of lower income students, “money” is not really an issue here.

    It is a decent school. I have one (soon to be two) daughters attending that school and it’s been a good experience for her.

  31. cclngthr says:

    The main issue here is those good, and interested in sports, particularly football have an increasing desire to attend Lincoln, likely due to Kitna being a coach and teacher at the school.

    Is it because Kitna is there at the school and actively recruits through his image of being a professional football player more students to play at the school? It appears Lyle is thinking of this, and I also came to the same conclusion he did.

    What if Kitna wasn’t at the school? Would there be a larger number of players at a school that go on to play after graduation? That still may happen, due to the recruiting and policies of the individual programs.

  32. manwithaplan says:

    What ever happened to academics, all these decisions it seems to me are for the wrong reasons, none of these kids will be pro basketball players and will someday need a real job like the rest of us, lets make sure that will all this they actually get educated, because often they do not and when they short term glory of playing is over, they are left with what ?

  33. LeePHill says:

    Lyle – if you are claiming that members of the Wilson swim teams had moved into Wilson’s boundaries to be on said team, you are wrong. As to coaching, the informed person knows that Hannula coached the Tacoma Swim Club as well as Wilson High and his success was because of a winning formula and training from youth all the way through school.

    The informed person knows that Kaye Hall, Olympic Medal winner in 1968, didn’t compete on the Wilson swim team, because it didn’t have female athletes at that time. Kaye was but one example of many north end kids that worked with Hannula from a young age to adult.

    The informed person also knows that many of Hannula’s best swimmers, that won those state titles, were named “Hannula” – yes….Dick’s own kids who lived in the Wilson district.

    You are on a witch hunt that has no merit, as usual.

    Open enrollment would remove the need for anyone to “move into the district”.

  34. Of course….if this country offered free tuition for higher education this whole setting oneself up for a college/semi-pro career by going to right school in high school would be less important….and we could focus upon…..the child’s education while in school instead of their sports’ achievements.

  35. Yeah, sports are bad and free college sounds great. So we will have weak, non competitive, liberal arts majors by the hundreds of thousands.

    By the time one is 18 they can vote, fight a war, be married, etc but no responsible enough for their own personal eduction or finances. More free stuff is the answer. Let’s ignore how broke the nation is, nevermind the states.

  36. lylelaws says:


    I taught at Wilson one year in the mid-70s and had the pleasure of meeting Dick Hannula a few times, and had a few members of the swimming team in my classes.

    He was not only a world-class coach but man of great integrity who any parent would be proud to have their son work with to devolop their skills to the maximum. However, if you saying that a program that won 323 meets in a row wasn’t bolstered by team members who had moved in from other areas, as usual, you are operating on the “Talk now, think later” plan.

  37. LeePHill says:

    Lyle – as usual, you have nothing to support your allegations. I was on the swim team and knew my team mates.

    Until Foss was opened, Wilson’s district was virtually all of the North End, cutting off at University Place and Stadium’s border was Union Ave. More than ample to draw from – The largest high school in Washington State for many years, until Foss was opened.

    Hannula required the team to train, mornings and evenings 5 days a week and many came in on weekends. That is how you win. Ask Kaye Hall.

    Your “talk now, think later” is a better example for someone who seeks to taint a great program and didn’t participate in it.

  38. commoncents says:

    So the parents who move to Seattle to have their child attend Garfield and be a part of that music program should be penalized and the child have to sit out a year? Or is it only sports that should draw the attention here?

  39. LeePHill says:

    Great point, commoncents. All students need to have the choice of where they want to attend, for the reasons that enhance their lives and possible scholarship opportunities. College ain’t cheap.

  40. lylelaws says:


    Foss opened in 1973 but Wilson went undefeated for almost another ten years.

    With all of the yammering you have done in the discussion I haven’t heard you once say that a number of kids had not moved into the area to be on a great team with a great coach.

    By the way I have misplaced my Little Orphan Annie decoder pin so I am not sure who you are this week, but then your name will probably change again by next week anyway.

  41. LeePHill says:

    Lyle – “I haven’t heard you once say that a number of kids had not moved into the area to be on a great team with a great coach.”

    LPH – “Lyle – as usual, you have nothing to support your allegations. I was on the swim team and knew my team mates.”

    How much more clear do I have to make it, Lyle? I grew up with those kids and no one was moving to go to Wilson. There were excellent swimmers at other schools – Bruce Richards at Stadium, for instance, who competed for TSC.

    Hannula created his dynasty through instruction and hard work by the athletes. A team wins by having lots of good swimmers and divers, not just champions. It was depth in the ranks that won all those meets. Quit making mountains from molehills.

    Your name never changes – synonymous with delusional.

  42. LeePHill says:

    “surething says:
    June 22, 2012 at 3:51 pm Another Friday Lyle letter. Yawn.”

    Well said, surething. Lyle knows more about Wilson swimming with one year of teaching at Wilson than I do with three years attending.

  43. LeePHill says:

    Here, Lyle…try some more facts:

    “The commitment required was unstinting. They swam three or four mornings a week, and five afternoons. Hannula says they practiced twice on Saturdays for nine or 10 months a year.”


    Quit making it look like a great program sandbagged.

  44. took14theteam says:


  45. took14theteam says:

    How is “Sandy” tonight?

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