Covid restrictions spur Miramonte students to attend elite Florida sports academy 


Imagine a high school with the country’s top coaches, athletic facilities, and top-ranked academics all located on an 600 acre campus designed for elite student athletes. By winning countless national titles throughout many different sports, International Management Group Academy is considered one of the top high schools in the nation.

This past school year,  Miramonte juniors Luke Duncan and Cooper Bohlig transferred to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, with the hope of being able to play a full season of football and baseball under loosened COVID restrictions. Though both Duncan and Bohlig have returned from their college student-athlete lifestyle, Bohlig’s eligibility for his baseball season is up in the air. 

During the summer going into his sophomore year, Bohlig had known about IMG through social media and big-time programs, and talked to his parents. Bohlig loved the top notch baseball program and the COVID-19 policies that were applied in Florida.  Not only were they able to compete in full-contact sports, they were able to be in-person in classrooms. Where fall sports and some winter sports were pushed back at Miramonte until spring. 

        “I just hated being on Zoom, and was nervous that I wouldn’t get to play any sports. In Florida, I noticed they were cleared to play full contact sports and go to school in-person, which immediately grabbed my interest,” Bohlig said.  After discussing with many friends and family, Bohlig finally made the decision to travel halfway across the country for a full year of schooling.

         Luke Duncan, who served as Miramonte’s junior varsity quarterback his freshman year, was also frustrated by the uncertainty of the California high school sports. Duncan decided to follow Bohlig’s footsteps and transferred to IMG for half a semester.

       “I wasn’t sure if the football season would happen. I knew that Cooper transferred to IMG, so I talked with my parents and I decided to go to IMG for one semester to enhance my game as a quarterback,” Duncan said.

 Unfortunately, being in separate dorms, organized by sport, Duncan and Bohlig rarely got to see each other. Bohlig spent his days going to school and immediately stepping on the baseball field after. 

“I had a tight schedule, but after the first couple months of living on your own, you get better at managing your time for school, sports, and social aspects. Overall, I thought IMG really taught me how to be a college student-athlete,” Bohlig said. 

Bohlig and Duncan were constantly using one of the best weight rooms in the country and playing with some of the best players in the nation. 

“I hadn’t known much about lifting weights before I attended IMG, so I was able to learn the specific techniques for quarterback that would make me a better player. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t have those trainers and coaches to teach me about football,” Duncan said. 

As the school year came to a close, Bohlig and Duncan were ecstatic to return to their hometown. Both practiced with varsity football over the  summer  and earned starting roles for the team, with Duncan at quarterback and Bohlig at wide receiver. Bohlig, who was unable to play football at IMG, was especially excited due to a long awaited absence from one of his favorite sports. Duncan and Bohlig were both able to compete in football because Duncan played a spring season at IMG while Bohlig only participated in baseball. But as the baseball workouts at Miramonte began, Bohlig’s eligibility for baseball was taken away by the California Interscholastic Federation. 

Extremely startled, Bohlig frantically wondered what he could do to play a varsity season of baseball. Bohlig was left with two options: play a season of baseball on JV or don’t play baseball at all.

 If Bohlig is unable to play during his most important year for recruiting, Bohlig will experience a major setback in his ability to have college scouts and coaches to watch him.

“I’ve been going to camps and playing for club teams this past summer, but the Miramonte season is still crucial for my progression and recruiting,” Bohlig said. 

Unlike Bohlig, Duncan was able to return to his high school career with no eligibility issues. Duncan participated in spring football at IMG, which isn’t considered an actual sport by the CIF. Bohlig played an actual baseball season in the spring at IMG.

According to the California Interscholastic Federation No Child Left Behind Act, “students transferring to another school under any provision of the federal legislation are not residentially eligible at their new school. However, a student may become eligible under the provisions of the appropriate Section and CIF Constitution and Bylaws.” 

This would cover Bohlig’s eligibility requirements; however, if CIF decides to, they may grant Bohlig eligibility in the spring. Bohlig now has to fight the decision and now has to bring in the Athletic Director, James Lathrop, to get Bohlig his eligibility back.

One football athlete, Palmer Rhoades ‘24, who transferred from Campolindo this year,  decided to play a full season on Junior Varsity rather than sitting out for half of a varsity season.