BLOOMINGTON — Standout junior basketball player Charles Payton is seeking to transfer from Bloomington High School to Olympia.
The 6-foot-7 Payton, the leading scorer and rebounder on BHS’ 20-6 team, has not officially enrolled at Olympia. Olympia principal Ed Jodlowski said several steps need to be taken before a student’s transfer becomes official, beginning with verification of his or her residency in the district.
“Secondly, we request records from the other school and wait for the principal concurrence form that they create,” Jodlowski said. “The principal has to sign off on that and say the student is in good standing.
“Once we get that, we find out what classes the student has and we get them a schedule and they begin. We understand that he’s looking into the process of enrolling in our school and we’re waiting until we have everything until we say he’s enrolled.”
Per Illinois High School Association transfer by-laws, Payton would not be eligible to play this season for Olympia, which begins Class 2A regional play next week.
The IHSA requires a minimum of 30 days before a student can participate in extracurricular activities at a new school. Also, students are prohibited from participating in an activity during the same season if they were involved in the activity at their previous school.
Payton, who would be eligible to play for Olympia next season, turned 18 recently and reportedly has decided to live with his father in the Olympia district. He did not practice with BHS on Tuesday or Wednesday and is no longer with the team.
Payton was averaging 17.4 points and 8.8 rebounds for the Purple Raiders, who are in second place in the Big 12 Conference with a 7-1 record. He is being recruited by a number of Big Ten Conference schools and is listed as a four-star recruit by ESPN.
"We are still involved in the process so it's a little early to say everything is 100 percent (complete)," BHS athletic director Tony Bauman said.
"Until he is enrolled at another school, we still have an obligation to him as an individual and as a student. We are still communicating with him as best we can."
BHS coach Micheal Mosley said Payton told him “it has nothing to do with me or the team. It’s something personal that he wanted to do.”
The Purple Raiders play host to rival Normal West on Friday and play at Peoria Manual on Tuesday. They trail Manual by one game in the Big 12 race. Payton’s younger brother, 6-6 freshman starter Chris Payton, will remain at BHS.
“We talked about it as a team that we still have enough,” Mosley said. “The team has been talking about no distractions for us and being focused. We lost two big games this (past) weekend. I think our guys wanted to be locked in on what we have to do rather than on the decision Charles was going to make.
“They’ve handled it well with Charles as well as with each other. There hasn’t been much talk other than the guys who want to be here are going to be here. That was the big thing with Chris Payton. He pointed out that everything we do is about us. We’re in this together.”