End Of Form 600 A Good Move For Schools, Athletes

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Payson High has experienced few problems dealing with infamous Form 600 that allowed athletes to transfer schools on a whim.


Only once in the past decade has a PHS athlete transferred solely for sports reasons.


In the White Mountains, the situation is more pronounced where athletes have jumped ship in schools like Show Low, Blue Ridge, Round Valley and St. Johns.


Under the previous Arizona Interscholastic Association administration, all that was required to change schools were the signatures of the two school administrators involved. That became an automatic under the threat of lawsuits.


Recruiting became common place in Phoenix and Tucson where a handful of not-so-good coaches reduced themselves to raiding other team's rosters to bolster their own.


Also, it wasn't unusual for disgruntled players to abandoned their schools and search for a team with a better win-lose record.


Under 600, good teams became better when athletically-motivated youngsters took their acts to more acclaimed programs.


If you were an impressionable young football player living in downtrodden Phoenix North residence boundaries and had the opportunity to jump to the opulent digs at Tempe Desert Vista, wouldn't you at least consider the move?


In reporting the adverse effects of 600 through the years, some writers have focused blame on coaches, saying it was their desire to search outside their own school boundaries for the talent needed to win a state championship.


The truth is, good coaches are totally opposed to the recruiting process on the high school level and prefer to recruit only in their own hallways.


Payson High School football coach Jim Beall is one of those who has frequently expressed his displeasure with the transfer situation, saying athletes have some responsibility to stay at their home school.


The fiasco of Form 600 was laid to rest last fall when Harold Slemmer was appointed AIA executive director.


With strong support from around the state, Slemmer immediately set a goal of wiping the law from the books.


Last Friday at a meeting of the AIA's Legislative Council, not one of the 39 members in attendance voted to retain Form 600. What it means is that now students must stay and play in their school attendance zones where their parents or guardians reside.


If athletes decide to transfer, they will have to sit out one season.


That levels the entire playing field for all Arizona's high school athletes.


But you can bet there will be some well-meaning but ill-advised parents who will try to bend the new rules or find loopholes. Lawsuits are almost a given when son or daughter's athletic future is at stake.


Doing away with Form 600 and setting a new set of transfer guidelines was in the best interest of parents, administrators, coaches and young athletes.


Slemmer and the AIA legislative council deserve a pat on the back for having the courage to stand up and do the right thing.

Payson crew at America West

In the AIA state basketball championships held in Phoenix Suns America West Arena last week, one officiating team included Payson's Teddy Pettet and Tim Fruth.


Only the best officials are selected to work the state finals and it's been a long time since rural Arizona sent a crew to America West.


Teddy and Tim are to be congratulated for their accomplishments.

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