MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Parents will live in another state while their children move to Minnesota to play hockey.
It may sound extreme, but schools say it’s happening. Now, some college students are calling on lawmakers to crack down.
There are already rules laid out that say what’s needed to happen before a child makes the move to play high school sports. But some say that isn’t happening, and it’s time to level the playing field.
On Thursday night, the peewee players from Edina took on Northfield in association hockey. And, even at this level, the extreme stories are there.
“[Some families] drive three-and-a-half hours one way just to play for an hour practice,” said Jeremy Klotz, an association board member.
Klotz knows Minnesota gives talented young players a better shot at being seen. But he believes the state should get a better handle on just who is getting a spot on a school team and where those kids are really coming from.
“I think they should regulate it a little more,” he said.
A life-long hockey fan and student at Concordia College, Adam Goinz wants lawmakers to do more.
“The kids from Minnesota should get to play in Minnesota,” he said.
Right now, residency laws say if a student moves here, a parent must follow. But, if they move alone, parents can pay what’s called a “reasonable fee” to the school district. That ranges from $7,000 to $12,000.
But Goinz says he’s found cases where parents are giving up custody of their kids to allow them to play.
“I think that’s kind of a strange thing to do,” he said.
Working with his classmates, Goinz created the “Home Ice Advantage Act.”
They want a legislator to sponsor a bill this session that would create a task force to take a closer look at what’s going on. A look behind the scenes, they believe, will help Minnesota athletes get back to what matters.
“As a parent you want your kid to have fun,” Klotz said. “That’s the main thing.”
David Stead, the executive director of the Minnesota State High School League, said that he thinks there is already a good system set up and that eligibility rules are pretty tight.
Stead said each school’s athletic director acts as the investigator in these kinds of cases and it’s up to them to check everything out.
The Concordia students say they will lay out their plans at a press conference next week.