CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – A new bill is set to take effect this summer to allow all students in West Virginia to play sports. 

Lawmakers passed House Bill 2820 on March 11, which will let Hope Scholarship students across the state to play sports at their local schools, no matter where they are enrolled.

Delegate Kathie Hess Crouse, the lead sponsor of the bill, says students who attend non traditional schooling will be able to participate in extra-curricular activities at a public school beginning with the upcoming school year.

The bill will become law without Governor Jim Justice’s signature. There is a provision that allows all public school students to transfer and retain eligibility. The Governor is calling on lawmakers to take a closer look at the provision, because he’s concerned that this law will lead students to transfer out of schools just to join the best teams.

“This is going to cause some level of imbalance as far as our sports teams all across our state. I don’t really know how to address the choice issue that parents are absolutely deserving of.”

Bernie Dolan, the Executive Director of West Virginia Secondary School Activities, echoes the same concerns, and is worried that students transferring to play at stronger programs or to join their friends will be inevitable.

“If I’m a junior and all of my friends have graduated, and the team’s not gonna be very good, I’m gonna look around and transfer anywhere.”

While some lawmakers are skeptical, families say they are thrilled about the new law. Scott Goldsberry, a father of five children all enrolled in the Hope Scholarship program, says the law gives his kids opportunities to play sports as students that did not exist before.

“To know that there’s a sport if they want to try and play it that our school doesn’t offer…those sports that my kids may want to be involved, it’s a blessing to have that opportunity at one of the local schools.”

The law is set to take effect June 9, in time for the upcoming school year.