COLUMBUS — The following statement was given to The Daily Sentinel by Tim Stried, Director of Information Services for the Ohio High School Athletic Association on Thursday afternoon with regard to the Eastern High School Transfer/Residency Case.
This student transfer/residency issue is not simply a case of administrative error, as the Eastern administrators suggest. First, the school allowed a transfer student-athlete to participate in several contests without getting an eligibility ruling from the OHSAA. Then, when the school finally requested an eligibility ruling, it was discovered that the student-athlete was living in the district through a Power of Attorney document, which is not applicable to establish either residence or transfer athletic eligibility. Thus, the student-athlete was clearly not eligible to participate, which results in forfeitures.
Just recently, a court-approved Change of Custody has occurred for this student-athlete. Thus, he is now eligible to participate, but that does not change the fact that the school did not request an eligibility ruling and even when it did, the student-athlete did not meet a transfer or residency exception at the time he began his participation.
The cases which the Eastern administrators referenced are not applicable to this situation because the students in the other cases were otherwise eligible pending the proper documentation be provided to the OHSAA for an eligibility ruling. In the case of this student at Eastern, he was not eligible until the recent court-approved Change of Custody, which occurred after he had participated in several contests. Thus, in applying Bylaw 10-2-1, victorious contests in which ineligible players have participated must be forfeited.
When Eastern administrators initially informed the OHSAA of this situation, they told the OHSAA that a legal change of custody had occurred. If that were true, the penalty would have included only a monetary fine for administrative error. However, when Eastern submitted the documentation, it was discovered that a legal change of custody had not occurred and that it was only a Power of Attorney document.
It is unfortunate that the Eastern administrators have cited other cases and insinuated that their case is the same. This case is clearly not the same, and the forfeitures will stand. The OHSAA does not take forfeitures lightly, but member schools, including Eastern, have adopted the bylaws and it is the responsibility of each member schools to follow all procedures.
In summary, Eastern administrators did not request an eligibility ruling for a transfer student, and when they finally did submit documentation, it was discovered that the student did not meet either a residency or transfer bylaw exception.
Editor’s note: Eastern administrators and board members did not make reference to the other cases mentioned in the September minutes of the OHSAA Board Meeting. Through research on this story, those cases were referenced by the reporter due to the violation of similar OHSAA Bylaws.