Gov. Jim Justice issued the following statement this week after he allowed HB 2820 to go into law without his signature:
“I fully support the ability of our HOPE scholarship recipients, students in microschools or learning pods, homeschooled students, or our private school students to participate in extracurricular activities at their school or at their local public school.
“However, the extra provision in this bill which allows all public school students to transfer schools and retain athletic eligibility one time during their four years of high school is something I have a big problem with.
“Allowing student athletes to transfer to any school whatsoever with no purpose other than jumping to a better athletic team will do nothing but make a few teams better at the expense of all the others.
“As a high school coach, myself, I’ve spent decades with high schoolers, and I believe wholeheartedly that coaching is one of the most rewarding experiences you can participate in. It’s one that all West Virginians should get involved with at some point in their lives, because it’s up to us to pass down our wisdom to the next generation so that our teenagers are equipped to handle all that’s thrown at them from so many different directions.
“I couldn’t veto this bill because I strongly support allowing our HOPE scholarship recipients, students in microschools or learning pods, homeschooled students, and our private school students to participate in extracurricular activities across the board. However, I will ask the Legislature next session to revisit the transfer rules, because if we don’t, I fear we’re heading down the wrong path with our high school athletes and opening up the door to many unintended consequences.”