Connect with us

Local News

Utah may amend its regulations on foreign students participating in high school sports



Layton, Utah – Around 550 pupils attend Layton Christian Academy, with almost half of them being foreign students. In Utah high school athletics, hundreds of their overseas students participate.

“I was just looking for a better opportunity than in my country,” said Brazilian student Otavio who plays on the school’s basketball team.

“I feel like the biggest opportunity in Utah is getting offers from other colleges because I’ve been talking to other colleges and they want me to swim for them,” said Turkish student Pinar. “America has always been my dream.”

As early as next year, there may be changes made to the regulations governing overseas students’ eligibility to participate in varsity athletics in Utah high schools, such as Otavio and Pinar. Increased limitations on F-1 visa holders participating in high school athletics have been suggested by the Utah High School Activities Association.

“I felt welcomed here for almost two years; now I feel like they don’t want us,” said Layton Christian Academy student Nehir.

After learning about regulations in other states and hearing about issues such as foreign recruiting, the UHSAA was prompted to review its own policies. An investigation into Layton Christian Academy and other schools’ purported overseas recruiting activities is still underway.

“We’re looking at all documentation. We’re still waiting back for information from schools and individuals as we move forward,” said UHSAA assistant director Brenan Jackson.

“We do not recruit to play sports — our kids pay tuition,” said Layton Christian Academy’s head of school, Chris Crowder, when asked by FOX 13 News if the school engaged in international recruiting.

Schools that have players on an F-1 visa would have three options under the proposed bylaw:

1. Go independent and create their own schedule
2. Play varsity games with F-1 students, but give up the right to compete in the postseason
3. Allow F-1 students to play sub-varsity, only local students would play on varsity teams and be able to compete in the postseason.

“This proposed bylaw to ban students from participating in Utah High School Activities Association with the other public schools would devastate our school,” Crowder said. “Also, these international students that have come here, some of them for 2, 3, 4 years, and they just want to chase the American dream.”
“I see there is a level of restrictions, but not a ban,” Jackson said. “So the schools, instead of us telling them what they’re going to do, the schools then have three options they can look at and choose what’s best for them.”

Discussions over the proposed bylaw are currently ongoing. According to Jackson, the Executive Committee must review any potential additions or deletions before the Board of Trustees meets on May 1.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *