When a student transfers from one GHSA member school to another (private or public), that student is ineligible for GHSA varsity sports if there is not a bona-fide move of the student’s family. So what this means is that if the student didn’t move with his entire family and transfers to another school he can’t play sports for a year. The intent of this rule is clear. They don’t want students changing schools on a whim for sports reasons (either being recruited to the student team shopping). On the surface, this seems reasonable and justifiable.
But what in the case of financial situations where the student had to change schools ? That’s where a “hardship” comes in. The GHSA constitution provides for these situations. The student can apply for a “hardship” and ask for the GHSA executive director to waive this restriction. The executive director can grant the hardship making the student immediately eligible, or he can ask for more information and request the student attend a “hardship hearing”.
These “hardship hearings” occur either once or twice a month. The student, coach, athletic director, parents will present their hardship case to four members of the executive committee and either be granted eligibility or denied.
This decision will be given directly to the athletic director with no explanation of a decision. It’s either “Yes” or “No”.
This process is completely subjective and is up to the discretion of the board at that time.
If denied eligibility, the member school can appeal the decision and present their case again at another hardship hearing (in some cases a month later).
For each of these hearing the member school must pay for the hearing.
If the student is denied a second time, the member school can appeal one more time. This time the appeal must be before the entire executive committee in Macon, GA. The member school must pay for the expenses of this appeal including lodging and travel expenses of all of the members, which is approximately $5,000.
In 2013-2014, the GHSA made $95,380 from hearings (an increase from $57,565 in 2012-2013).