Athletic appeals: recent decisions (February 2015 School Leader Update)
Iowa Department of Education Director Brad Buck recently issued decisions in two athletic appeals cases filed against the unions. In the first appeal filed against the IHSAA, the director reversed the decision of the Board of Control denying the eligibility of a student who transferred schools only because he was kicked out of his father’s home and had no other choice but to move in with his mother who was living in another district. The director found that under the general transfer rule at IAC 281—36.15(3)”a”(8), the board could exercise its discretion and make an eligibility finding that it deems to be fair and reasonable. Under the specific facts in this case, the director found the Board of Control should have made a finding of eligibility.
In the second appeal filed against the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union, the director affirmed the decision of the Board of Control denying eligibility of a student to compete in all sanctioned sports for the remainder of the student’s high school career because the student ignored the rule under IAC 281—36.15(2)(h). This rule provides in part that:
“A student is not eligible to participate in an interscholastic sport if the student has, in that same sport, participated in a contest with or against, or trained with, a [NCAA, NJCAA, NAIA], or other collegiate governing organization’s sanctioned team. A student may not participate with or against high school graduates if the graduates represent a collegiate institution or if the event is sanctioned or sponsored by a collegiate institution.”
In this case, there was no question that the student knowingly violated this rule. On two separate occasions, the student competed against college athletes representing their teams and at events that were sponsored by the colleges and then on a third occasion the student competed against college athletes representing their schools. The decision found that the student’s knowing violation of the rules justified the sanctions imposed.