Exchange students denied by MSHSL

Maddie Hibbs

Every year Benilde-St. Margaret’s invites a number of exchange students from all over the world to take part in the BSM community by playing sports and participating in activities. However, the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) only allows them to participate in sports for one year.

Jack Lee, a BSM junior exchange student from South Korea has been in the United States for three years now, two spent at BSM with friends and participating as much as he can. He has a hard time making this possible when he only has a limited amount of playing time.

Jack played tennis his sophomore year, but can’t play junior or senior year. “It was frustrating at first, but it’s the state’s rules,” Lee said.

In order to participate in a varsity sport of their choice, exchange student must have come from the Council on the Standards for International Educational Travel and been approved by an MSHSL official and the principal of the school.

Thi Hoang, a BSM senior form Vietnam, has never been able to participate in a varsity level of sports or activities because she only has one year of participation. Because she does not believe exchange students come to the United States just to participate in sports, she thinks the rule is baseless. “What I think, is that it’s stupid, no one really comes here just to play varsity sports,” Hoang said.

The one year rule for exchange students is upheld at BSM, according to BSM’s Athletic Director Mr. Pettinger. Other activities––bowling,drama, and chess club––are still available for exchange students to take part in because they are not through the MSHSL.

Before the policy was implemented, throughout North America certain states with competitive high school programs had been having problems with the exchange program as students were coming to the U.S. to participate in a sport and get a college scholarship. As this became more widespread, school boards decided on the need for new guidelines that would keep students from coming here just to play varsity sports. Minnesota followed this trend.

Another reason for the change is based on the fact that exchange students typically only participate for one year in an exchange program. Although now, many students from Korea and China are staying here for longer periods of time, and they want to be able to participate as much as they can during their time of study. Currently the MSHSL does not have any plan to change this rule, so it will stay implemented at BSM.