KANSAS CITY, Missouri (KCTV) — A rising high school basketball star could be sidelined during her crucial junior year because her school didn’t have enough players to field a team.
Now, she’s caught in the crosshairs of state rules that would penalize her for going to a different school to play.
Chanel Anderson has been attending The Barstow School, an elite private school in southern Kansas City, since the third grade. Her favorite things are science and basketball. But this season, there weren’t enough players in the Tests to make a team. State rules say that if you transfer schools for sports, you are ineligible to play for a year.
Watch Chanelle Anderson on the court and you will see her skill. But, talk to her about her moves on the point guard force and you’ll see her passion.
“The way you can move someone else out of your way makes me want to grab the ball,” she said, moving her hands holding an imaginary ball. “Like a big power move, it makes me feel powerful. It makes me feel powerful, because I know what I can do and what I’m doing for my team.”
Her father’s eyes light up when he watches her toy tapes. He said colleges have already expressed interest in recruiting her.
“This is, like, precious,” said Charles Anderson, looking down at his phone as he turned on the highlights. “I got a bar for all of them.”
But, the interest may fade away in college if you don’t stay on top and prove it through playing. This upcoming season is her junior year.
Her parents emailed the athletic director in May about whether they had enough players. He replied that if there is a transfer due to not having enough players, “the school administration will work with MSHSAA [Missouri State High School Athletic Association] to obtain student-athlete eligibility.”
A statement from the school sent this week says otherwise.
“When a student requests transfer schools, MSHSAA member schools must indicate whether the reason for the transfer is athletic,” writes Lisa Tulp, the school’s director of communications and marketing. “The Barstow School informs any family who may transfer as a high school student that there may be an issue regarding athletic eligibility.”
KCTV5 asked MSHSAA to explain the reasoning behind the carriage rules.
“The student is there to be a student first, not to play sports,” MSHSAA Director of Communications Jason West explained. “And so, the regulations are put in there to protect that entity and make sure that getting an education is the number one priority.”
He said there is an appeals process after a transfer if one of the many exceptions applies.
“No school is one of the exceptions, but there is no basketball program that is not one of the exceptions,” said West.
The Andersons asked the Barstow staff about the possibility of a co-op arrangement with another school, where Chanelle could play for a different school’s team but still be a student at Barstow. They said the debate had gone nowhere.
“The Barstow School had every intention of fielding a girls’ basketball team,” Tulp wrote. Student numbers at a pre-season meeting suggested that would be possible; however, we did not have enough players at tryouts to field a team. We explored the idea of a co-op, but logistical issues made it impractical to run it. The school would offer opportunities for interested players to participate in Skills training with outside coaches. We look forward to having the girls’ basketball team return next year, as players on current middle school teams enter senior school.”
Chanelle’s family said they are at the moment where they are ready to try their luck with a transfer and appeal. They visited a private school in another district on Wednesday and are waiting to see if it will be accepted.
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