Louisiana public school districts and attendance zones are designated by the local school boards or federal courts – not by the LHSAA. All non-public LHSAA schools are bound by the same attendance zones established for the traditional public schools physically located in their zone.
Student-athletes are only eligible to participate in the attendance zone where they reside with their parents. This system ensures that Louisiana student-athletes are always eligible to play somewhere, but complications may arise when a family wishes to move or enroll their student in a school outside their attendance zone.
It’s critical to note that manipulating a student’s residence for athletic purposes jeopardizes their eligibility in LHSAA-sanctioned athletics. All changes in residence must be determined to be “bona fide,” which occurs when a student’s parents abandon a former residence for a new one in another school zone. Students are eligible at the first school they enroll at within the new attendance zone if the move is considered legitimate.
Parents must not abuse this system. Any residency change made for athletic eligibility purposes is not considered bona fide, and the student-athlete will be declared ineligible at all LHSAA schools for one calendar year. Changing custody or guardianship of a student-athlete for athletic designs is also prohibited. Eligibility may be reinstated after a student has been enrolled in a school outside their attendance zone for a full calendar year.
LHSAA acknowledges that unique situations may arise, and we maintain a hardship program to assist families when eligibility rules fail to accomplish their intended purposes or cause undue hardship on our student-athletes. The Hardship Committee has the authority to set these rules aside if a student-athlete’s principal requests a hardship waiver to appeal the initial ruling.
This transfer system protects the integrity of interscholastic athletics through the LHSAA’s capacity as an athletic AND academic partner of our member schools. We will work with families affected by these eligibility requirements, but we will uphold the system when it applies.
Kenny Henderson is executive director of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA).