Innocent Mistake, Harsh Rule

West Bloomfield High School suffers a tough loss to Groves after unwittingly using an ineligible player.

Ari Felhandler

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The West Bloomfield High School Lakers plowed through their fierce rival Birmingham Groves in a thrilling overtime 31-28 victory in the first match of the season. However, the celebrations were cut short as WBHS was stripped of their victory due to a technical error made by the West Bloomfield Athletic Department.

 

Apparently, the Lakers allowed an athlete to unwittingly play, thus breaking an MSHAA (Michigan High School Athletic Association) rule. The rule states that a transfer student/athlete is required to refrain from playing any sports affiliated with the school for one semester unless the individual were to change residencies with the same guardians.

 

Unfortunately, due to miscommunication WBHS did not realize that the athlete had not changed residencies and was therefore ineligible to play for a minimum of one semester.

 

The athlete has lived in the same home in West Bloomfield his entire scholastic career and it therefore seems unfair that such a rule would make a lifelong resident student of West Bloomfield ineligible to play a sport. This could be a lifechanging event for the student since just a negligible technicality negates all the hard work and effort put forth to prepare for his future. This little known rule could change the course of this athlete’s life and diminish his capacity and chances to have more opportunities to be successful by being less visible.

 

This is a hard lesson to be learned by both the athlete and the school. This rule seems too harsh of a punishment for such an unimportant technicality and promotes instability of residency and punishes a person for staying in a stable home for years. In an unrelated example of how this rule can detrimentally affect a student would be if a family were sending their child to a private school and then during a particular year could no longer afford the private school’s tuition, therefore sending their child back to public school without changing residencies. That athlete would now be subjected and punished by not being allowed to play a sport for the first semester of the school year. That discriminates against the student as well as the sports played in the first semester of the school year. It could affect sports such as football, tennis, cheerleading, and field hockey. While this type of rule may prevent athletes from hopping from school to school to take advantage of athletic programs, it also provides disadvantages for athletes that are sincerely subjected to their family circumstances. The Lakers were able to bounce back from the unexpected forfeit with victories over Oxford and Lake Orion.

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