What would you do about basketball transfers if you were in charge of the GHSA?

It’s yet another season of high school basketball in Georgia, and yet another top crop of basketball players have transferred to other schools.

How do you feel about this issue? Do you think the GHSA should address it in any way? If so, what would you do if you were in charge of the GHSA?

Here’s a great story about the issue in the AJC by Todd Holcomb

Like it or not, the trend of transfers — high-profile players going from one school to another in the off-season — is not slowing in Georgia high school basketball.

There never has been a boys champion in Class AAAAA, which started in 2001, that didn’t have at least one transfer student-athlete in its starting lineup. Now, more girls players are on the move. Defending Class AAAAA champion Norcross has four move-in players who already are making a big difference.

Here are several high-profile transfers — boys and girls — around metro Atlanta who are changing the fortunes of their schools this season:

* Lexie Brown, North Gwinnett girls: Brown averaged 14 points for Dr. Phillips of Orlando, the Class AAAAAA semifinal team last year in Florida. A 5-foot-9 sophomore, she is the daughter of former NBA player Dee Brown.

* Shannon Cranshaw, Greater Atlanta Christian girls: Cranshaw, a sophomore, already has committed to Georgia. She came to GAC from Father Lopez High in Ormond Beach, Fla., where she was the county player of the year as a freshman, scoring 20 points per game.

* Kaela Davis, Buford girls: The most prominent girls transfer, Davis averaged 14 points as a freshman on Norcross’ state championship team last season. She left for Buford to be with AAU teammate Andraya Carter. Both are committed to Tennessee.

* Qiydar Davis, South Gwinnett boys: The Comets are 10-3 and ranked No. 4 in AAAAA. One big reason is this 6-5 junior wing, a high scorer who came from Blessed Trinity.

* Karl Cochran, Walton boys: Wheeler High in Marietta is a magnet for basketball transfers, but Cochran went the other way — from Wheeler to neighboring Walton. He’s a playmaker who has committed to Wofford.

* Dearica Hamby, Norcross girls: A Wake Forest signee, Hamby is among four key transfers to Norcross. The others are 6-1 Jasmine Kemp and 6-2 Patrice Butler from Stephenson and 5-8 Tori Carter from Southwest Atlanta Christian. Also joining the team was Butler’s freshman sister, 6-3 Sierra Butler.

* Brittany Hawkins, Redan girls: The 5-6 point guard averaged 15 per game last season for Towers. Now she’s at Redan, the 2009 AAAAA champion and 2010 runner-up.

* Cole Hobbs, Greater Atlanta Christian boys: Hobbs and Milton’s Evan Nolte probably were the best sophomores in north Fulton last season when Hobbs was at Johns Creek. The 6-5 Hobbs has joined AA champion GAC.

* Shaquille Johnson, Milton boys: The defending AAAAA champs returned all five starters, so Johnson — a 6-5 junior known for his leaping and dunking skills — is a luxurious sixth man. He has several mid-major offers, plus one from Auburn. He came from Salem in Rockdale County.

* Al Key, Columbia boys: Key, a 6-4 wing player, had been a three-year starter at Lakeside. He leads Class AAA’s No. 1 team with averages of 11.4 points, 6.0 assists and 8.6 rebounds.

* Alonzo Nelson-Ododa, Norcross boys: Nelson-Ododa, who has signed with Richmond, is perhaps the best of three key move-ins for Norcross, which won Class AAAAA in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Nelson-Ododa came from Winder-Barrow. Norcross also picked up 6-7 forward Ron Booker from Hoover in Alabama and a 6-2 guard, Derrick Herbert, the leading scorer last season from Arlington Christian of the Georgia Independent School Association.

* Jordan Price, Southwest DeKalb boys: Price played his freshman season at Columbia, then went to McCallie of Chattanooga for a year, where he was Tennessee’s Mr. Basketball in Division II-AA. He’s back in DeKalb County at Southwest DeKalb, where he is averaging 21 points and six rebounds.

* Nigel Snipes, Wheeler boys: Snipes is a 6-5 small forward and outstanding perimeter shooter who has committed to Western Kentucky. He’s one of three new players for No. 2 Wheeler of Class AAAAA that include his former Paideia teammate Kharon Butcher and former McIntosh star Chris Longoria.

How do you feel about this issue? Do you think the GHSA should address it in any way? If so, what would you do if you were in charge of the GHSA? Please post your comments below.

91 comments Add your comment

Some Sense

January 6th, 2011
7:34 pm

There’s nothing the GHSA can do. These people are “moving”, moving from one attendance zone to another. Moving from one Section 8 apartment complex to another.


January 6th, 2011
7:40 pm

This is an issue where you can’t make anyone happy. One one hand, if you crack down on transfers and say that all transfers must sit a year, you’re penalizing people with legitimate moves and transfer needs. On the other hand, these kids transferring specifically for basketball or whatever other sport is wrong and I think most people would agree with that.

I think that GHSA needs to find some common ground. Whatever the rules are, people are going to always find a loophole. If you say coaches can’t recruit HS athletes, they will either recruit 7th and 8th graders or they will get parents or other non-staff members to recruit for them. Some are going to be bold and just hope they don’t get caught, but regardless of what they do, the problem will continue.

My reccomendation would be that all athletes sit at least 1/3 of the season next season regardless, maybe even 1/2 the season. Sitting a whole year without exception seems extreme, but again you can’t please everyone.

K Clark

January 6th, 2011
8:16 pm

Just Win Baby!!!!!


January 6th, 2011
8:53 pm

Simple they have to go to the high school in the district they live in unless they are transfering for EDUCATIONAL reasons. If the kids is in Honors classes and has better than a 3.0 they can transfer to a school that has better Educational Facilities. NO TRANSFERS just for sports. No going to live with your aunt because she in the Basketball district the kids wants to play. Or the parents of the child transfering has to play the amount of the education in that district too. You know like parents that send their kids to privite schools. They pay for some kid to get a public education plus they privite school tuition.

hind tit

January 6th, 2011
9:19 pm

Do it like they do in college make them sit out one season. It’s getting so bad that the private schools are giving full tuition to 12 year old kids. Heard this straight from a parents mouth.


January 6th, 2011
9:37 pm

Well the rules are in placed but they are not being enforced. is not just basketball but all sports too. I mean use common sense and get this thing right. its not fair for all of our south georgia teams that try to compete the right way. make all trnsfer sit out a year regardless if its legit or not. Just nip it in the bud and if its for academics then students wont have to worry about not playing.


January 6th, 2011
9:40 pm

I’d like to know how the Price kid at SWD could afford McCallie. That is the most glaring transfer.


January 6th, 2011
10:12 pm

Have em sit out a season & that’d pretty much take care of it!!

GO Wolves!!

Gonna be 3 – time AA State Champs AGAIN!!


January 6th, 2011
10:56 pm

I believe GHSA really don’t care about basketball! Let football player try it and his former school will protest, GHSA will make him sit for a year. I think football player should’ve the freedom as the basketball player.

Dale Willard

January 7th, 2011
12:38 am

For those of you that have jobs…

If you have the chance to switch jobs because it will benefit you in multiple ways are you going to stay at your old job where you can get by or take the new one where you can take your career to the next level? Kids transfer for a ton of reasons. I dont care if they transfer strictly for athletics as long as they move. I also dont think that many coaches are actually recruiting. These players all know each other and play AAU with each other and then their parents get to know each other. People that claim recruiting all the time live in the boonies and dont know how things work.
Option A: Play with my current team who stinks, my coach stinks, our schedule stinks, our offseason program stinks, our facilities stink.
Option B: Transfer and play with a good team that will allow me to get better in practice going against good players, play for a coach who can prepare me for the next level and has contacts at the next level, play a tough schedule that really gives you a measuring stick of your game and national exposure, go to a school whos dedicated to making your individual game better in the offseason with gym work and weigh training.

Now which one of those would you rather do?

Now you know a lot of kids transfer.


January 7th, 2011
12:53 am

Dale Willard AAU is fine to play with your friends. We are talking EDUCATION not sports. If the family can afford to move then so be it. The STUDENT should go to school where they live. If parents want to pay for privite school and AAU ball then they can. If the family lives in one district then the child plays in the district. SCHOOL is for an EDUCATION. School is not for sports. Sports are a plus not the focus. If you spent the time and money on your children in ACADEMIC releated areas like you do in sports your kid could get in a good college and a job without sports. Do we enjoy sports? Yes. Can most people make a living at playing sports? NO. Can most people make a living reading, writing, math, or being a smart well rounded person? YES.


January 7th, 2011
12:56 am

HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS is not a JOB. GETTING AN EDUCATION and being able to go to COLLEGE to get a GOOD DEGREE is the JOB.


January 7th, 2011
1:20 am

sometimes its not the coach. If the kid is good then they will find him. Kids wont get better training til they get to college. Not many AAU or high sachool coaches are really teaching thes kids anything. They have to work hard and better themselves. Most of the Norcross, Wheeler have better athlete because of year round training and AAu experience. How many really make it to the NBA. Only the four or five really.


January 7th, 2011
7:35 am

To FromtheBARstool-

I am a parent of two girls basketball players and coach AAU girls. My older daughter went to a high school like the one Dale Willard referenced- terrible coach, terrible facilities, etc. Lots of kids gave up the sport because the coach couldn’t relate to girls. My daughter stuck it out through her senior year, but the whole experience was a negative, ego-damaging, deflating disaster. Everyone that went to that school had to have their confidence and their skills put back together each spring when they got to us. Your message implies that the athletic experience is not part of the educational experience, but it is. The self-image these kids form through success and failure in sports and participating on a team is something that shapes them for the future. It speaks to the priority the school puts on athletics that the clown in charge has lost over 100 games in 7 years and they haven’t replaced him.

I can’t speak for others, but there’s no way my younger daughter is going through the same nonsense the older one did. And no, I don’t think we should have to sit out a year to find a more positive environment for our kids… isn’t that what we are all looking for? Thankfully, in our county you can make an academic transfer if another school offers a needed course that the local school doesn’t. But my central point is that academics and athletics are integrated; I agree with you that almost all these kids will make their living in something other than sports, but when they think back to their glory days they aren’t going to remember how they did on the winter 10th grade chemistry exam.

So we’re going to a school where both academics and athletics are valued. As Paul Rudd said in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”…

“If life gives you lemons… (screw) the lemons, and bail.”

Walker, Texas Ranger

January 7th, 2011
8:11 am

If you are transferring withing 25 miles, you sit out a year unless your current school does not meet certain academic or safety requirements. All others transfers from out of state or county are ok. The whole transfer within counties should be stopped.


January 7th, 2011
8:30 am

This has gone on FOREVER. Parents have always moved their kids to other schools for sports and/or academics for years. The rules are what they are, and the really is no one reason to change them. If parents feel that their kids have a better chance for a scholarship or a better education, they should have every right to let their children go to whatever school of their choice.


January 7th, 2011
8:37 am

Basically, its the school choice to hire a coach well the right coach. Parents are always complaining about the coach when indeed maybe its your child thats really not that good. When my child reaches that age, I will makes sure the school provides with a quality effort in education and sports. If what I am hearing is true, then all the parents should do more in the school and maybe the system will listen to your demands. Stacking a team is not benfiting your child. Sure they may win, but will the really get better as a student of the game. Too many parents are living thru their child. Oh yeah its that what Lebron did, but we threw stones at him. Is that what every child does when they leave early for the NBA and we talk down on them. I mean too many people want it all.


January 7th, 2011
8:46 am

Have players to sit out the first 5-10 games. My high school had a football player that sat out the first game of our season back in 2000 due some type of transfer rule. The team didn’t find out from GHSA until the last minute he couldn’t play. That really hurt us, because the kid went on to score 4 touchdowns in the very next game!

Ronald Wells

January 7th, 2011
8:47 am

It is very unfair to the real public schools. The private/semi private schools are the main schools doing this. They are recruiting just like colleges. They need to make the play up a classification like they use to do. If a player family move is is okay, but if the student is the only person from his family that move then something fishy is goin on. Augusta, GA. Lucy Craft Laney High School should have been in the state championship had it not been for a GAC which is the biggest recruiting school in the state.

Ronald Wells

January 7th, 2011
8:51 am

Make the transfers sit out a year unless they have legitimate documentation that can justify them playing at their new school.


January 7th, 2011
9:13 am

As a parent of a transfer why do so many parents care what I do with my child? Mind your business.

FACT : My child leaving gives your child play time.

Vernon C

January 7th, 2011
9:22 am

I agree with you eggwhite. It’s easy to sit on the side and and say they should just say they should sit. As a parent it is my job to put my child in the best position for them to succeed in life and yes sports are a big component of your education. Think about the costs of a college education and tell me I am wrong for not putting my child in an environment where they will be exposed to a great education and athletics. It is not either or.

Vernon C

January 7th, 2011
9:24 am

Meant to say, tell me I am wrong for putting my child in the best environment to succeed. My child welfare is my business.

Outside Observer

January 7th, 2011
9:37 am

Mad props to year of the dog for throwing in a Forgetting Sarah Marshall quote….
Now, I may be incorrect, but we had a kid transfer in when I was in high school because his school did not meet AYP, ours did. He played tennis but was not able to play for a year because of the transfer. I guess this isn’t the case for these other students who are transferring for basketball purposes. I know it will negatively affect kids who are transferring for the right reasons (going from a decent school to a Wheeler or Norcross is not a legitimate reason), but I think it is best for the student to be ineligible for a full academic year. I understand there are going to be loopholes ex. allowing transfers because one school doesn’t offer a certain class. But we are making these kids feel like because of sports, they can do whatever they want. I think it sets a bad precedent for the future when sports probably won’t be a part of their lives anymore.


January 7th, 2011
9:38 am

First thing I would do is go through all the records of all athletes at “all private schools” to ascertain why they are there, i. e., are they paying for their schooling, are they there on a full scholarship, who is responsible for them being there, what is the ratio of athletes on scholarships VS the total school population, etc. Tom Murphy, bless his soul, knew what was going on in the private schools and he stopped the corruption until he died…..afterwards, the corruption started again. Also, I would make it a rule that any athlete that transfers from one school to another be required to sit out one full year, regardless of the reason for the transfer. The only exception would be transfers from out of state where their parents were transferred for employment related reasons. I know these rules would be tough for the athletes, but we have to stop high schools from re-loading year after year after year after year. Schools that are caught cheating should serve one full year suspension of all sports activities. Cheating has become rampant in Georgia High Schools and has to be stopped. Note: The above is an opinion and absolutely the way I feel about the situation.


January 7th, 2011
9:40 am

ok eggwhite but your child transfer mean no playing time for someone else that actually lives in that district. If a family moves thens thats different than the child only moving. How can some many kids or “family” move when its so hard for me to sell my house. A family should move and not the child. That what makes it illegal.


January 7th, 2011
9:50 am

If they transfer in county from say Towers to Redan. Let them go to Redan & play at Towers. if they had to play for the “home” scholl I’ll bet most of these phoney tranfers would stop.

MHC Tiger

January 7th, 2011
10:01 am

@why, a kid transfered from westlake to sandy creek the week before the playoffs. a 4 star recruit, and played. so it happens in football also.


January 7th, 2011
10:06 am

This goes on all the time in sports and non sports. Kids in some counties even transfer for Band programs. Some transfer for the different academic bowl teams. It happens in all sports. Last year a student who lived across the street from our school “transferred” to another program in the county that was more accomplished in their sport. Everyone knew what was going on, but nobody said anything. Reporting to GHSA is actually frowned upon. Everyone uses players in some sport that are questionable and no one wants their team looked at. Last year we got a new coach, that coach reported their old school for using illegal players. The old school turned around and snooped till it found something illegal going on at our school and reported us. Both schools got nailed, which is what is suppose to happen. Except the county came down on both schools for opening their mouth and told both schools and all coaches to keep their mouths shut in the future. No body wants anything reported because everyone does it. Schools and school systems keep their coaches quite and a coach takes their job in their hands if they report another school, especially if they are in the same system or area. There will be no changes because even with the unbalanced playing field the transfers create, nobody wants the system changed.


January 7th, 2011
10:38 am

Coach has a point in saying that parents are all too often blaming the coach for problems and looking for greener pastures when maybe their child isn’t the superstar they think he / she is. And this provokes a lot of unproductive transfers, just like the college players that turn pro before they are ready. I see that all the time in AAU because kids that are bigger and faster than all their mates get caught and passed as they get older, and the parents still remember when their kid was da bomb.

The bad coach situation I referred to is a bit different. If it is common knowledge that a coach is truly terrible, then the parents should do their homework and place their child somewhere else to begin with. In our case 22 kids players have left the school in the last 5 years to play somewhere else and ZERO have moved in. They have so few kids in the program (large classification school) that their freshman team has only five players, and they all have to help with the JV. A parent should easily be able to see warning signs like that with even minor investigation, and then the transfer issue would be moot.

Ted Striker

January 7th, 2011
10:44 am

As long as a student meets residency requirements, let them attend and participate fully. Policing intent is and will always be a gray area.

Besides, coaches/teachers can move from school to school without meeting residency requirements. The burden of proof on students is greater.


January 7th, 2011
11:03 am

you can’t legislate an out of state transfer. If the kid moves from another state, they play.

If they move from one in state school to another within the same district or region, they sit out 1 year.

Up here in KY, where a little bit of bball is played, they are all in a lather because the private schools win all the state championships. If a kid transfers from public to private from the 7th grade on, they must sit one year. There are lots of 8th grade girls playing bball in KY.


January 7th, 2011
11:15 am

All you ever hear about is how private schools recruit. Yet 11 of the 13 examples you list are at public schools. Interesting.


January 7th, 2011
11:17 am

Theres nothing wrong about it! The only things thats wrong is the people that own houses cant jump up and move like people in apartments. with the houseing market the way it is you cant sell a house right now. Thats the only thing not fair.


January 7th, 2011
11:31 am

@jim, you ever heard of scholarship. I think there is nothing wrong with transferring your child to a better program. If it’s going to help your child make it to the next level. The objective in life is to give your child the best chance to succeed in life.


January 7th, 2011
11:41 am

Once AAU basketball became more prevalent than high school basketball this was bound to happen. Why would you stay at your high school when you can go to a high school that plays in national tournaments and on TV? Why stay at your high school when you can play with other top recruits which can only increase your visibility. Take Milton High. They have 6 guys on the team who will sign Division 1A Scholarships. I’m sure the 7th, 8th, 9th, even 10th guys on the team are going to get looks too. The GHSA can’t do anything about it. The players move (or at least appear to move). Trust me on this; people have paperwork that makes it appear that they are leasing/renting in the area of the school they are transferring to. The GHSA does not have the money to play private eye and follow up on every complaint and I’m sure they get many. This is the new norm. Some schools get big time transfers every year.


January 7th, 2011
12:01 pm

As long as the player(s) in question make bona fide moves and move out of their existing schools attendance zone there really should be no problems with the moves. The real sticky issue has always been moves during a playing season or even repeated movement of players. But realistically if a parent buys a house or rents an apartment in the new schools zone there is little that can be done.


January 7th, 2011
12:26 pm

GHSA should tie transfers in with academic achievement. Only allow transfers to be eligible if they have a certain GPA.



January 7th, 2011
12:28 pm

There are rules in place for transfers, The “Bona Fide Move” rule and the “Migrant Student” rule. The “Bona Fide Move” rule states that a student is eligible if he/she moves with the entire parental unit or persons he/she resides with at the former school and the student and parent(s) or persons residing with the student must live in the service area of the new school. [By-Law #1.62(a)].
The “Migrant Student” rule states that a student that has a “bona fide” move is immediately eligible. A student who transfers schools without a bona fide move is considered to be a “migrant student” and is ineligible for varsity competition for one calender year.

It seems that there are holes in GHSA rules. With all the transfers and all the talking about transfers going on, GHSA hands must be tied because no actions have been taken.

I don’t know what the answer is, there are pros and cons on both sides. I have seen second and third string players on good teams get better scholarships than a good player on a bad team, even though that player on the bad team could have started for that good team. That would be a good reason why a parent would want to transfer their child to a better school and program. What ever the answer is good luck.

Frank Smith

January 7th, 2011
1:34 pm

A start to get some control of the issue would be to count every game that is played with an organized non-school team as one less game they can play the following season with their high school team.


January 7th, 2011
1:49 pm

I’m a parent of 2 girls. If I wanted to move my family so my daughters could attend a school that had a dynamite arts program, or music program, or fastpitch softball program, why is that such a crime?

If private schools pledge that they’re not giving athletic scholarships…but do anyway, that’s an issue.

If I want to move my kids from one public district to another so they can attend a school, that’s my decision.

just curious

January 7th, 2011
1:51 pm

what’s this? I thought only private schools recruit. Are you saying that student-athletes would actually leave a private school situation for a public school environment? Amazing.


January 7th, 2011
2:39 pm

Make the athlete choose between the high schools and the non-school teams. If you are on a AAU roster then you are a AAU player, if you are on a high school roster you are a high school player. but you cannot be both. I also like what Frank Smith said but his way would be real hard to police. The rosters would not be hard to police. Lets make it about High School basketball and not who is going to the next level or the NBA. .

David Granger

January 7th, 2011
2:39 pm

1. Regardless of the circumstances behind the transfer, to play at a new school the player must be eligible to have returned to his previous school and to play sports. (No transfers due to expulsions or ineligibility at his previous school.)
2. If his immediate family moves to a new school district, the player is eligible (if he’s not ineligible via rule 1).
3. Player must be living with a family member…NOT a coach or faculty member at the new school.

alpha dog

January 7th, 2011
3:02 pm

to yearofthedawg… sounds like our experience with Lassiter Girls!


January 7th, 2011
3:06 pm

First off I would like to thank you for all your coverage of high school and recruiting news. I read most of your stuff but I am a first time poster. I was curious if you could also do an article on something that is probably a bigger issue than transfers and that is the way public city schools can pull from such a larger population than county public schools. These city schools are able to dominate in a lot of sports because of this unfair competitive advantage. A prime example is Buford- They can pull from I believe 4 counties which gives them a pool of millions (I believe it is around 4 million- not sure) to pull from where a typical county public school competing against them in AA is only pulling from a population in the thousands. This advantage is maybe bigger than a private school advantage because they don’t have the same large tuitions that come with attending a private school. It’s not a big issue for AAAAA or AAAA because there aren’t many if any city schools playing in those classifications but it is huge in AAA, AA, and A with such city schools as Gainesville, Carrollton, and Buford to name a few. The GHSA should somehow factor in how big the population is that these schools can pull from in determining their classification level. The disproportional tax money that goes into these schools facilities is also a huge factor in the competitive imbalance. I am surprised that their hasn’t already been more coverage on this issue or any kind of lawsuits to stop it. I’m also curious to know if most states run their classification system with public city schools this same way.


January 7th, 2011
4:14 pm

Oops, just noticed this wasn’t an article by Chip. Same question for you Michael.

Hit A Single

January 7th, 2011
4:51 pm

If a kid transfers, you sit out a year unless it was a hardship because the parents job forced them to move. But just to move to play is wrong. We wonder why kids don’t show respect and responsbility, it is because their parents don’t. It is all about me and they take no pride in trying to help their school win.


January 7th, 2011
5:01 pm

Michael…good article and to the point! Remember that 99.9% of these “playahs” are not Rhode Scholars, and are just in this for the chance for big money. This is a culture problem and I don’t know the answer. Maybe instead of high school they could just attend a trade school and play in an industrial league.

Tell the truth

January 7th, 2011
7:28 pm

I don’t know why the AJC does not do a series and investigate these transfers. It is an absolute joke to continue to allow the transfers. Yes the GHSA can do something about this. We had cheating with high school recruiting for years- still do, especially with the private schools. But to now wink at the transfers is just ludicrous. I will tell you that in Florida in 1956 if you moved from one parent to another in another state, you had to sit out a year before playing in Florida. AND this was even if you had not played sports in the previous state. And now we allow Wheeler to load up with players every year and win because of it??? Do youer job GHSA!!! Stop the cheating.