Johnston Football Loses the Transfer Game


Jordyn Cimmiyotti

Christian Boivin ’21 carries the ball during a preseason scrimmage on Sep. 21.

Nathan Anderson, Staff Writer

Christian Boivin ’21 had every intention of finishing his high school football career with Johnston. After the state of Michigan cancelled their high school football season, Boivin, an all-state caliber player in his hometown of Traverse City, decided to take his talents elsewhere. However, two games into the season, Boivin learned that for whatever reason his high school career was over, courtesy of the Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA). Unfortunately, because he lives in Michigan, he could not be reached for comment.

JT Puk ’22 was going into the season as the starting middle linebacker. Although nobody could blame Boivin for wanting to play, his transfer likely would have significantly decreased Puk’s playing time this season. This is what some people see as a major drawback to the circumstances that many of Iowa’s football programs find themselves in. Puk agreed to give me his thoughts on the situation.

JT Puk, Linebacker

Q: So going into the season, you were presumably going to be the starter. How did the news of Christian’s transfer impact you personally?

A: Honestly right away I didn’t really know much about the guy, and once he came he was a super nice guy, a really good athlete. If he would have made the team better, I’m all for him playing.

Q: How did you feel about it at the time?

A: At the time, you know, I was like ‘I don’t know if I’m gonna play now.’ But I still wanted to work hard, earn my spot, because he would have to earn his too. Again, if he makes the team better, that’s all that matters.

Q: How did coaches explain the situation to you?
A: They talked to the whole team about it, they said that he still has an equal chance just like everybody else, that it’s not just that he’s a [college] recruit that he’s gonna play for sure. 

Q: How do you feel about the situation after the fact?

A: Honestly he would have made the team really good, I think they should have given him a chance to play. He’s gonna make the team better, he’s a really nice kid, but you know, what’s done is done. 


Brian Woodley, Head Football Coach

Q: What did Christian coming to Johnston look like, and what was your part in it?

A: You know really, it kind of got initiated by coach [Jeff] Helgeson, [who] I think is friends with the family, the uncle… They had some connections there with the family [who] reached out, knowing that Johnston’s a pretty good community as far as schooling and athletics. They knew this would be a good fit for Christian, both football and academically for his college prep time.

Q: Were there any other players who were interested in coming to Johnston?

A: No, not that I know of unless they secretly did some research and things like that. But no one ever really reached out and said “Hey, we’re not having football this fall, we’d like to meet with you about coming to Johnston and the state of Iowa”. So no, we only had one person.

Q: What were some of the challenges in this process?

A: You know, I think the biggest challenge is working with the State Association, I think that’s the most disappointing thing. This family had their ducks in a row I would say, their paperwork, their reasons for wanting to come to the state of Iowa I think were all legit. Everything was good by our academic and athletic standards for our district, so the biggest thing that sticks out is why the athletic association in Iowa was really making a big stink out of it, number one. Also treading water by not getting back to the family and saying “he’s good to go”. And after having all those people working, I think that was the most frustrating, the time they took on the whole process.

Q: What did go wrong with the State Association?

A: You know basically, according to them, the biggest thing that I know about it, I don’t think the state really liked having kids coming in from the outside. I think they were trying to make a statement [that] unless you moved in as a family, and [were] eligible right away, I think they wanted to make a statement that they just don’t want kids from all over coming to the state of Iowa and playing football. I think that’s the biggest thing and then they take their time getting back to the family and giving them a yes or no… that’s the big thing. Now we’re three or four weeks down the road and the season’s going to be over. The manner in which they’re getting their response was kinda getting ridiculous. 

Q: What do you think were some of the positives and negatives of people transferring [to Iowa] in general?

A: Here’s the deal, we’re in a pandemic. Here’s my whole take on the whole thing: I think with what’s going on in the world, and these kids have an opportunity to go to college. Every kid in America has that opportunity, if they want to, but I think it’s another means, another avenue. If a kid can play athletics, and help him with paying for college, that’s huge. I think we should be a little more lenient right now with the times we’re dealing with, and if [another] state’s taking away an opportunity from a young person, why not give it here? I don’t see a problem with it, as long as everything works out and the paperwork’s legit, and everything’s turned in. You know, I was a big proponent of letting the kids play no matter what school they went to. You know, what the heck? It gives them a chance to get on film, colleges get to see them [because] they can’t come visit, and then [the players] maybe have a possibility of earning some college money.