Reading between the lines of OIA transfer rule


The rewording of the OIA transfer rule may seem like small potatoes, but it has large implications.

Due to an out-of-court settlement in the case of Miller v. Kishimoto recently, the scuttlebutt around OIA athletic directors is that the league is back to the “wild, wild West” of a few years ago.

OIA athletic directors will not talk about it on the record, referring any inquiries to OIA executive director Ray Fujino. Fujino did not return a call asking for his thoughts on the subject Tuesday.

In a nutshell, the transfer rule that went into effect in 2015 is back in play. Gone is an amendment from 2017.

That amendment was a stricter version. It stipulated that any athlete transferring from one public school to another had to sit out one year if he wanted to play in the same sport.

But after an agreement by the lawyers in Miller v. Kishimoto, the transfer rule is back to being less strict.

With the amendment gone, if an athlete has a home district, he or she can always play there, even if he or she played at another school via district exception the year before. That’s what happened with Jalen Miller, whose home district is and always has been Kapolei. However, Miller played for Mililani in the 2016-17 season due to a district exception. He wanted to move back to play for Kapolei in 2017-18, but was initially denied. Then came the Miller family’s suit against the OIA (and DOE superintendent Christina Kishimoto), and a restraining order against the OIA in its attempt to enforce the rule followed soon after. And then Miller wound up playing the whole season for Kapolei, and the lawyers — Eric Seitz for the Millers, and Lyle Hosoda for the OIA — agreed to settle out of court.

OK, but how does that change things? You won’t hear anyone in the OIA say it, but one of the reasons it put the amendment in place in 2017, apparently, was to stop kids from setting up residency in less-than up-and-up fashion.

Although it was never fully documented in print or proven, there was an interesting tale going around about a football player in 2015 who tried to leave his home district and enroll in one school, but was found to have a shady address that was linked to his coach’s business. He was told by the school administration that he couldn’t do that, and so he eventually established residency in Kahuku through a relative, and as far as we know that residency was fully legal. That player helped lead the Red Raiders to the top-tier state championship.

And that’s what makes the new, watered-down version of the transfer rule full of holes, so to speak.

Now, it appears that players can look for relatives outside of their district to establish residency and, ostensibly, be legal.

It should be noted, however, that in the wording of the Miller v. Kishimoto agreement, it is clear that the OIA may try to make the rule stricter in the near future:

“OIA reserves the right to review this rule with the intent on making improvements to the same in time for the 2018-19 school year. OIA rules committee and legal counsel are to collaborate with the DOE and its counsel as well as Plaintiffs counsel with regard to the contemplated modifications of this rule.”

And in the meantime, it is worth remembering that the OIA is out for the best interests of all of its athletes.

As it reads in the agreement: “The OIA is and has always been committed to the student-athlete and fair play. It will continue to review and revise its rules with that intent in mind.”


  1. Harry Donato May 16, 2018 9:55 pm

    If that is the rule for the OIA, then what is the rule for the ILH? Also what is the rule for a player going from the OIA to the ILH and the ILH to the OIA?

    Thank you for your time

  2. ahhhh May 16, 2018 10:03 pm

    Very interesting. Did the Kahuku team get disciplined for their actions. If not, will there be ny actions towards any program that tries to break these rules?
    Also, what are the transfer rule for the ILH programs, or is it full of loop holes too.

  3. Not too positive.... but May 16, 2018 10:07 pm

    Ummm Harry, I think ILH has their rules and I think it might be a little more strict than OIA’s. ILH don’t care about home school, district exempt, etc… I think bottom line… you played the sport last year… you sit out the next season. Don’t matter what school you came from on the island. Maybe OIA can adopt the same? Who knows…

  4. ahhh May 16, 2018 10:08 pm

    If all transfer rules are thrown out of the window. You’ll see a lot of kids changing schools every year because they won’t get the playing time or the position they want at their present school.

  5. Mr.T May 17, 2018 5:51 am

    Main thing they go to school to get an education first.Only if and when a school becomes a powerhouse/dominant school in any particular sport people begin to talk….and what not,just let the kids play and have fun no matter where they go.Can’t beat um,join um,don’t wanna join um,try harder to beat um next time. Just my 2cents.

  6. jrth50 May 17, 2018 8:12 am

    ahhh . . . please read the article again, especially the part about Kahuku. The shady part happened before that kid established residency with a Kahuku area relative.

  7. Aiea 7 May 17, 2018 8:32 am

    there will always be student-athletes who will transfer to another school to pay for a better team or coach, both public and private. high school athletics have become a source for college scholarships and eventual a professional career. academic -wise, students do transfer legally and illegally to a better school (public or private) for a better academic environment and ultimately entrance to a prestigious school via scholarship or otherwise. hence, there is no difference in these two scenarios. so, why penalize a student athlete who transfers illegally to another school, when it might make a world of difference whether that athlete gets a college scholarship? thus, even if the transfer rules are eliminated, there will be no difference than now, since athletes always find a way to do it “legally”. Sure, there might be more “recruiting” but that is already happening in the club sports leagues (all sports) and has not reduced the effectiveness of the club sports leagues. Even at the college level, transfer rules should be eliminated allowing for unlimited transfers without punishment. after all, it is a way for college athletes to make it to the pros.

  8. phILHarmonic May 17, 2018 9:56 am

    Maybe implement a two year minimum rule or make it only possible to transfer out after sophomore season. What about making it so that a player has to have a certain Cumulative GPA in order to transfer?

    I cant help but to be intrigued with the idea. I have always been a staunch supporter of strict transfer rules but agree that it happens anyway and its for the reason to strive for opportunities. Cant fault that, so lets come up with some creative ideas.

  9. Whatsamattau May 17, 2018 10:41 am

    What about all the student-athletes that we’re penalized for 2016 and 2017, from this OIA transfer rule(s)? They can’t get those years of eligibility back…

  10. phILHarmonic May 17, 2018 11:01 am

    Fairness?? Things change and then they change again. Its unfortunate, I know.

    Maybe, those families can pursue litigation like the Miller family?? No sked um go get um.

  11. ??? May 17, 2018 11:58 am

    Let the “High School Free Agency” begin.
    Basically that’s what it’s come down to, whoever can recruit the star athletes will have the playoff teams😂

  12. hwnstyll May 17, 2018 12:41 pm

    If a kid wants to transfer , let them. It is on the school that is accepting the transfer to regulate their teams and recruiting. If it is really supposed to be about the students then let the students decide where they would like to go to school(as long as there is room in the classes).
    Here is my only caveat, A kid wants to transfer to Campbell, Campbell is overcrowded already, shouldn’t this be an admissions thing and not a sports thing?
    Plenty room in Kalani, Kalaheo, and Kaiser, wouldn’t their be a benefit if a student choose to go to a less crowed school with smaller class size ratio? Therefore transfers may only happen from larger schools to smaller schools for academic purposes? I mean if you cannot win at a larger school then why would you want to attend a smaller enrollment school? Maybe better education opportunity?
    As for GPA, if you really knew what some of these students grades were you would be ashamed of these coaches.

  13. Opinion May 17, 2018 3:39 pm

    Not too positive…
    The ILH way around it is to bring students in during intermediate and have them repeat the grade they just finished. They sit that year but play the following year. Seen this scenario over and over with kids going from ILH to ILH. Coming over from a public school during intermediate doesn’t matter cause ILH doesn’t recognize Public school intermediate athletics

  14. Ray F. May 17, 2018 4:11 pm

    Just let the kids transfer and play. This is all BS these rules.
    Only person that is hurt by these stupid rules are the kids.

  15. ????? May 17, 2018 8:59 pm

    Bogus law suite. Because Mililani did not have a good team Miller goes back to Kapolei. Parents transfer you kid anywhere then file a law suite get restrain order kid plays. Good for one good for all

  16. ????? May 17, 2018 9:01 pm

    Transfer anytime you want to. Bs play for your home school weak or strong. Ray F. You wrong

  17. Tostka May 17, 2018 10:35 pm

    If they really want this to be something positive instead of coming up with rules to prevent transfers, they should establish a standard to be able to transfer and play immediately. For example if the student has a 3.0 GPA or higher they can transfer and play immediately. If not, you can transfer, but sit out. The kids who are taking care of their business in the classroom earned the right to chase opportunities.

  18. dejavu May 18, 2018 3:36 pm

    Honestly, what if a kid transfers because the family itself moved due to economical reasons? Is it fair to penalize those students? Are we going to have to make exemptions every time? If so, how are you going to draw the line. The Kahuku case is an example of this.

  19. Coach A May 19, 2018 9:16 am

    Why would you put a “tale” or unproven rumor about a 2015 incident in a 2018 story? To muddle Kahuku”s 2015 State championship? The evil of the story was that the previous coach, from another school, used a shady tactic. That kid then registered at Kahuku by legal means. That 2015 team was stacked with homeboy studs. They beat St.Louis by 3 touchdowns in the finals. This one player did not make a big deal.

  20. HauulaBoy May 19, 2018 5:04 pm

    Let the kids play wherever they want to play.The kids that play for private schools, play for a better opportunity or education or maybe even a safe environment. But whatever the reasons they may be, they are free to do so because of wealth or athletic skill. They are still free to do so. So why limit kids who don’t have the wealth or athletic skill to attend a private school? All parents and kids should be free to choose whatever school they choose to attend. Just my honest opinion. RR4L

  21. HauulaBoy May 19, 2018 5:10 pm

    And I think Im onto Nick Abramo. They get a lot more hits on this site and in the comments section If he writes anything controversial about Kahuku.

  22. HauulaBoy May 19, 2018 5:12 pm

    Too funny. I just took the bait. Thanks Nick.

  23. HauulaBoy May 19, 2018 5:15 pm

    Speculatively writes, ” as far as we know “. Too funny.

  24. Westopher May 21, 2018 8:41 am

    The issue with the new rule is simple:

    The OIA has no way to VERIFY and CHECK if the home address these players are using actually is their residence. I’m pretty sure AD’s aren’t doing home visits to verify addresses.

    The flood gates has opened where particular coaches can indeed recruit heavy by using attained district addresses so players garners eligibility to play.

    The bottom line is historically any school with a mass amount of transfers is indeed “recruiting” players to come. Let’s not be naive, the coaches and AD of that school are capitalizing on a loophole. Simple as that.

  25. ILH May 21, 2018 2:39 pm

    Dont forget that there is a level of academia that is needed to attend these said private schools. well, most minus St. Louis. Kids should be allowed to go whatever school they want as long as they live in that district. wink, wink. So, keep it as it is.

    Looking at that list of State Championships:
    If the Crusaders or Red Raiders dont get football they get the DONUT with sprinkles. It no wonder that it gets so heated between the two. Their significance is at stake.

  26. robert May 23, 2018 11:18 am

    Kahuku has over 9 state champs and over 21 oia champ, can they other school a chance for next season

  27. ILH May 24, 2018 8:46 am

    they gave chance the last two seasons.

  28. BirdMan July 5, 2018 7:02 pm

    My question is this…. why can coaches jump from team to team year after year and when it comes to the Kids, they get transfer rules:.: if the schools is willing to accept the kids, they should play. You can’t make a ruling that they have to sit out… that’s discrimination… we fall under the law of USA, not ILG or OIA… if my son was transferring to St.Louis to play in the band, nobody be crying… but if it was for football, everybody be crying! Plain and simple!

  29. Coach C October 31, 2019 12:41 pm

    Yup. This is 2019, and the winner is…………Rod York. Mililani Trojans.

  30. Bruh August 2, 2021 9:03 pm

    Why punish kids under the age of eighteen in the first place? Over protective parents?

  31. Bruddahhood September 3, 2022 12:32 pm

    Any player transferring to a private school has to wait a year. Still hating on St. Louis because of their success. Many of the players that transfer out of St. Louis do so because they can’t make it academically. This is not the public school were you only have to maintain a 2.0 GPA and have a pulse. Regardless of what you think about St. Louis academically it still matters for private schools. Unlike public schools, so stop that BS about how important a good education is, that’s definitely not a priority when transferring out of St. Louis…and their definitely not transferring to play for a better school, give me a break. All the people pointing their finger at St. Louis academically definitely don’t have their sons making at St. Louis because their to stupid. A lot of public school kids need to left behind. All those kids that transferred out of St. Louis do so because the can’t make it academically. If you don’t maintain a higher GPA and your grades you lose your scholarship…and after all private school ain’t free.

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