Editorial: Leagues rule corrects a problem

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 21, 2007

It is unfair for wrestlers at Apple Valley High School when students from out of Apple Valley &8212; and, yes, even from out of state &8212; open enroll at Apple Valley High School and, surprise, go out for wrestling.

What happens to the local wrestlers who get squeezed off the team? Maybe their after-school activity becomes spray-painting bridges or smoking cigarettes.

Stacked teams benefit only the coach, the fans and the parents of the athletes who made the team. It hurts athletes who would&8217;ve made the team, tarnishes the school&8217;s image and is unfair to every team that competes against them.

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Minnesota is proud of being one of the first states to offer open enrollment in its schools. But the open-enrollment law was intended to keep schools competitive academically, and there is no denying the abuse the open-enrollment law has seen in Minnesota prep sports. The Minnesota

State High School League&8217;s new rule to limit varsity eligibility corrects a problem.

Firstly, anyone familiar with high school sports knows recruiting happens. Second, it is interesting how the top teams often march straight to state titles and happen to have open-enrollment players.

The writing is on the trophies. Why else would the Minnesota State High School League assembly pass the rule 48-0?

The debate on sports eligibility in Minnesota should come back to why schools offer varsity sports in the first place.

Sports aren&8217;t for helping high school athletes become college athletes. Most don&8217;t.

Sports aren&8217;t for parents to thrill in the athletic successes of their children. That&8217;s merely a side benefit.

Sports aren&8217;t for school pride, town pride, tradition, economic purposes or the ego of coaches.

No, sports are for developing young minds and bodies of students who attend the schools.

Lenient eligibility punishes the students who attend schools for the right reasons.

The Minnesota State High School League&8217;s decision is well-founded. The Minnesota Legislature needs to stay out of it.

As for a proposed legislative change in the Minnesota State High School League&8217;s rule-making process, the state can&8217;t seem to make up its mind. If the league is a nonprofit organization &8212; as the state made it &8212; it should be allowed to act like one. It would be awkward and unfair to place the burdens of a full-fledged government division on a nonprofit organization. Let the league make its rules.