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Decision Number
Ben Baker
Michele Baker
Iowa High School Athletic Association
Full Text

Ben is 15 years of age and a sophomore during the 2003-04 school year. There was no evidence presented that he is not academically eligible to participate in interscholastic athletics. Ben and his parents reside in the Chariton Community School District, where he attended 9th grade for a few weeks before being placed in two separate juvenile residential facilities for the balance of the 2002-03 school year. Ben suffers from a major depressive disorder. Recently, he successfully achieved discharge from his second placement. Prior to his discharge, Ben's parents and the school officials from Chariton agreed that it would not be in Ben's best interest to return to Chariton.

Ben's parents filed for open enrollment to attend the Wayne Community School District. This request was approved by both districts. Appellant testified that Ben had shown no interest in extracurricular sports until late spring of 2003. He would like to compete in football at Wayne Community High School.

This appeal falls under the Department rule 281 IAC 36.15(4), the Open Enrollment Transfer Rule. There is no question that Ben's open enrollment has nothing to do with athletics. This does not negate the validity of the transfer rule. No discretion exists to add to the list of exceptions under rule 281 IAC 36.15(4). The statute does not state that "similar circumstances" may be considered and this agency has no authority to create any additional exceptions.

Ben is allowed by the rules to practice with the team and enjoy the camaraderie of this teammates. He may be with the team on the sidelines during a game and may even contribute to the team effort as, for example, a statistician. He may not compete with and for his teammates during games for the first 90 consecutive school days.

That the June 14, 2003, decision of the Board of Control of the Iowa High School Athletic Association, declaring Ben Baker ineligible for the first 90 consecutive school days, was affirmed.