Illegal ways to win

For Minnesota high schools, success in sports can lead to accusations of illegal recruiting of athletes

“You have quite a bit of leeway in promoting your school.” said Athletic Director Homer Ramirez “If it’s student to student contact, you’re going to tell them everything that’s great about your school.”

Ramirez has been an athletic director at three schools. Two of the three have had rumors of recruiting. Multiple powerhouse schools including De La Salle, Apple Valley, and Edina, for numerous sports, are known as the place to go if you want to win.

The question throughout the years has been “do they recruit?”

High School sport recruiting is illegal as it states in the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) handbook. You may not have athletes at your school that get specific treatment from coaches, teachers, deans or principals.

Over the past years, many schools have received students that transfer during the summer or in the middle of the year. Those students turn out they perform excellent in a certain sport.

This is where the Transfer Rule comes into effect, the Transfer Rule states that if a student transfers schools, they have to sit out a year of playing high school sports.

“It’s a forgone conclusion that we are going to recruit students,” said Homer Ramirez, the Athletic Director at Minnehaha. “The misinterpretation is that we are going to bring in students for athletic purposes, and that is completely, entirely false.” Ramirez stated again. “We are an Independent private school, all independent private and religious schools recruit students.”

Even enormous public schools have been accused of recruiting. A year ago in February, there was a case involving a wrestler named Dayton Racer, who was born and raised in Missouri. Racer moved to Minnesota during his sophomore year and was ranked nationally in wrestling.

His senior year, he transferred to Wheaton High School four days before sections, where he got a chance to make it to state. Racer and teammate Cam Sykora are both three-time state champions and ranked nationally.

Mark Hall is another name that comes to mind when you think of a possibility of recruiting. Being born in Michigan, Hall came to Minnesota when he was a middle-schooler and won his first state championship in wrestling when he was a seventh-grader.

Now he is deciding if he wants to return his senior year to wrestle in high school or wrestle nationally and go to online school.

“It’s not really the coaches doing the recruiting as much as it’s student to student,” said Ramirez, “telling them we have the opportunity to make something great happen here, and that’s how most of the bunches of recruiting comes in.”

“High School recruiting, does exist, just not to the perception people want it to be,” said Ramirez.

High School recruiting has existed and will exist for years to come, but the debate is whether or not schools should be able to recruit. It all comes down to the MSHSL and how far you should be able to go and recruit.


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