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Transfer Bylaw Resource Center

Legislative Changes Impacting Transfer Bylaws

The stricken provisions located within Bylaw 4, Section 7 of the 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22 OHSAA Bylaws are due to legislative action by Ohio’s General Assembly in mid-July 2019 within the main operating budget. Therefore, these stricken bylaws and/or exceptions were/are not applicable for the 2019-20, 2020-21 or 2021-22 school years. For more information, please review this memo.

Transfer Bylaw Chart

Maximum # of Contests as per the OHSAA Board
27 Games
Game 15
(Boys & Girls)
22 Games
Game 12
Bowling (Boys & Girls)
24 Matches
Match 13
Cross Country (Boys & Girls)
16 Games
Meet 9
Field Hockey
16 Games
Game 9
10 Games
Game 6
(Boys & Girls)
20 Matches
Match 11
14 Meets
Meet 8
Ice Hockey
35 Games
Game 19
Lacrosse (Boys & Girls)
18 Games
Game 10
(Boys & Girls)
16 Games
Game 9
27 Games
Game 15
Swimming & Diving 
(Boys & Girls)
16 Meets
Meet 9
(Boys & Girls)
22 Matches
Match 12
Track & Field
(Boys & Girls)
16 Meets
Meet 9
22 Matches
Match 12
20 Points/16 points (for those schools that do not field teams- 6 or fewer weight classes)
Point 11/9


Transfer Bylaws Basics


Disclaimer: The below information is presented in a basic format to assist individuals in understanding the transfer bylaw. Ultimate deference will be given to the percise Bylaw language when the Executive Director's Office reviews any particular situation.
A student can establish their initial eligibility as a freshman at any school that will accept their enrollment. A student establishes initial eligibility by attending school five or more days as a ninth grader or by participating in a contest prior to the start of school.

A student is considered to have transferred whenever a.) enrollment is changed from one school to another school and the student attends a new school, or b.) enrollment is changed from one school to become home schooled, or c.) 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 and attending, or d) the participation opportunities afforded a student pursuant to state law change.  

If a student transfers, they will be ineligible for the OHSAA tournament and for all contests at all levels once the varsity team completes the first 50% of the maximum allowable varsity regular season contests. This rule is only in place for those sports in which the student participated during the 12 months immediately preceding this transfer.  A student who did not participate in an OHSAA recognized sport in the 12 months immediately preceding the transfer is not subject to the consequence of this transfer bylaw. There are additional rules outlined in Bylaw 4-7-3 for a student who transfers in the middle of a sports season.

Of course, in society today, students do indeed transfer 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 12 exceptions (2 have been stricken by legislative action), one of which MAY apply to a student who transfer. For a student to avail themselves of one of these exceptions, action on the part of the member school administrator as well as the OHSAA staff is likely required.  This bylaw requires the administrator to determine the following:

1. Is the student a transfer student? In other words, did the student change schools/participation opportunity after establishing eligibility by attending five or more days of school as a 9th grader or by participating in a high school contest?  If the answer is NO, then the transfer consequence is not applicable, and the student is fully eligible insofar as this bylaw is concerned.  If the answer is YES, proceed to step #2.
2. Did the student play an OHSAA sanctioned sport at ANY high school in the 12 months immediately preceding the date of transfer into the new high school? Get this information in writing from an administrator at the previous school or schools.  If the answer is NO, the student is fully eligible insofar as transfer is concerned for that respective sport at the new school and no paperwork or ruling is necessary. (Please note that if a student transfers back to a school in which they were previously enrolled, then their “lookback” review could include participation that took place at the same high school where they are now desiring a participation opportunity). If the answer is YES, then please proceed to step #3.
3. If the answer to both #1 and #2 is YES, then does the student meet one of the 12 enumerated exceptions to this bylaw? If the answer is YES, the student meets an exception, then paperwork will be required, and the school administrator must seek a formal ruling from the OHSAA.  Once approved, the student is no longer subject to the transfer consequence (but is still subject to all other bylaws). If the answer is NO, the student does not meet the requirements of an exception, the student may commence participation and is eligible, insofar as transfer is concerned, for all contests until the second 50% of the maximum allowable varsity regular season contests begin. At that point, the student shall become ineligible for all OHSAA tournaments and all contests at all levels AFTER the first 50% of the maximum allowable varsity regular season contests have been competed in those sports in which the student participated during the 12 months immediately preceding this transfer. The student simply participates until the ineligibility commences as prescribed within the transfer bylaw.

NOTE: Students who change high schools (transfer) are reminded that they must meet all eligibility standards found in Bylaw 4.  This includes meeting the out of state residency bylaw 4-6-2, which requires a student to have a parent (biological or adoptive) residing in Ohio or to meet one of the exceptions to that residency bylaw.