Article by Coach Hamlin Illustrates a Problem That Has Been Going On for Years

Penquis’s veteran coach Tony Hamlin wrote a real thoughtful article for the Bangor Daily News concerning the Lee Academy Situation. I agree 100% with Tony’s comments.

The problem is that people have a perception which they think or want to think is the truth about this so-called recruiting for athletic purposes.

This situation of so-called athletic  recruiting has been going on ever since I can remember since the mpa changed the original transfer rule. The original transfer rule stated that if a student transferred from one public school to another without the student and parent changing domicle they were ineligible to participate in interscholastic athletics for a year from the date of transfer. private schools had an advantage back then because they did not have to have students change domicle to be eligible.

Do some or a few schools recruit for athletic purposes????? Yes some do and I have had personal experience with it on both sides of this river after coaching and ADing in  public and private high schools in Maine for 34 years I know athletic recruiting especially in basketball has happened.

Does Lee recruit athlete?. I do not believe so , but the perception by some is that they do.  I feel that they play by the rules that the MPA has set up regarding transfers and recruiting.

However, when I was in a private high school in Maine I know of several public high schools that tried to recruit i incoming freshmen at the private school I was at after they had enrolled in our private school .I  also know that several of my upperclassmen were recruited and one very heavily recruited by  public high school(s).

We did not recruit athletes at the private high school I was at for 13 years as a coach/AD, because if any coach was caught recruiting for athletic purposes they would have been immeidately dismissed.

We as a school and me personally was accused of recruiting by the actual people who were recruiting our students for athletic purposes specifically for basketball.

Hoiw did I know they were recruiting our students for athletic purposes? Because the parents of the students being recruited speciffically for basketball complained to me about it.

At that time my principal and I each complained to the MPA office and were told that the only way the mpa would even start an investigation at that time, (it has changed now) was if a parent filed a written complain stating the who,where, when and what.

Of course, the parents did not want to do this because they did not want to get involved and I can hardly blame them..

The coaches who attempted to recruit our basketball players know who they were and they know I know who they were.

The current MPA transfer rule, in my personal opinion,  is the main reason that there is a recruiting for athletic purposes today, because if a student transfers to another school public or private and do not change domicle then they may apply for a MPA transfer waiver by having the student and their parent(s)/Guardian(s) sign the form stating that the transfer is not for athletic purposes. If they sign that (who knows the real reason for transfers) and the sending and receiving principals of the two schools involved sign the for stating that it is not for athletic purpses then the student is immediately eligible.

So who really knows if the transfer is really not for athletic purposes only the parent(s)/Guardian(s)Student who sign the wavier stating that is not for athletic purposes really know and if they were recruited for athletic  urposes, the person who recruited them knows if it is for athletic purposes.

My suggestion is to go back to the original Transfer Rule, “That any student that has attended a high school public or private for any length of time,then transfers without the styudent or his parent(s)/Guardian(s) without chaging domicle will be ineligible for a year from the date of transfer.

This would force all high schools to recruit students only as incoming freshmen and will put everybody on the same playing field..All high schools can have step up recruiting days for students.

It also will make the parents/guardians/student think very carefully where they want to attend high school for 4 years and will stop the transferring for athletic purposes when the wavier is signed saying it isn’t for athletic purposes but that it really is.

Private high schools would have to concentrate on incoming freshmen who are not athletically developed to increase their enrollments because of financial needs……this would stop the perception of athletic transfers for uppeclassen.

Until the MPA faces this problem head on we will continue to blame schools, coaches and adminsitrators that they are recruiting for athletic purposes, even if they are not, but it looks that way andperception is believed many more times then the actual truth.

It is interesting that the MPA limited the number of exhibiton dates so as to even the playing field and has not really done anything about a this problem of recruiting for athletic purposes, that has been going on for a long time. It is not a new phenomonum that was started by Lee Academy.

Lee Academy is playing by the rules and guidelines of the MPA regarding transfer waviers and are not recruiting for athletic purposes regardless of what the perception is.

However,  I can see a bigger problem coming down the road if the MPA doesn’t step in and do something.. Because some schools may say that if I can’t beat them, then I will join them and that could lead to far more problems then that exist today. at least by the perception of what is going on. Rahther it is or it isn’t. The perception by many people is that it is and not just at one school public or private and it has been going on for years. This situation has just brought more attention to the situation and perception.

The MPA had a problem with  a foreign transfer student in Western Maine and it ended up going to court with the MPA losing. The MPA was going to court over it even after it happened.. However, what ever happened? The  perception by many is nothing happened.