Letter of the Day (March 8): Open enrollment and sports

  • Updated: March 7, 2013 - 9:49 PM
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Illustration: Sports fans.

Photo: Ron Borresen, Bradenton Herald/MCT

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Ah, March. The month of Minnesota high school championships, during which rabid fans cheer for their hometown schools in a number of sports. Unfortunately, the “hometown” athletes increasingly aren’t from the hometown, much less the hometown high school.

Athletic departments at Minnesota high schools, as well as parents and relatives, violate the spirit of Minnesota’s open-enrollment program to stack teams for their own athletic glory. Parents “open enroll” their athletes not for academic rigor and competition but to advance athletic goals, many times at the expense of resident athletes who are left at the curb.

I propose a three-tiered system that would restore a semblance of integrity to our high school sports system: 

• Open division: Private schools and any public school whose roster includes an athlete who does not live with at least one parent within the school’s attendance area.

• Large public schools: Public schools of a yet-to-be-determined attendance level whose athletic rosters include only students who live within that school’s attendance area.

• Small public schools: Public schools of a yet-to-be-determined attendance level whose athletic rosters includes only those students who live within that school’s attendance area. 

Open enrollment was intended to increase academic competition between school districts, not to be a shopping place for parents, coaches and athletes.

Gary Dunn, Andover

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