Hon Kwan is a 17-year-old citizen of Korea who is attending his third consecutive school year in Iowa. In the 2003-04 school year, Hon lived with a host family and attended Maquoketa (public) High School on a J-1 visa. He returned to Korea for the summer of 2004. Hon returned to Iowa on an F-1 visa to attend Marquette Catholic High School for the 2004-05 school year. The School allowed Hon to participate in interscholastic athletics that year. The School did not file an application for approval for foreign exchange student eligibility with the IHSAA. At the end of the 2004-05 school year, Hon again returned home to his family in Korea. This (2005-06) school year, Hon is living with a different host family ? the Beckers ? in Iowa, has his F-1 visa, and continues in attendance at Marquette Catholic High School. The School did file the application for approval for foreign exchange student eligibility this past August, bringing Hon's presence to the attention of the IHSAA for the first time.The administration of the IHSAA sent a letter to the School on August 24, which stated that, under the general transfer rule, "Han would be ineligible for interscholastic athletic competitions for 90 consecutive school days, beginning on his first day of enrollment at Marquette Catholic High School." After the IHSAA Board of Control affirmed management's decision, the IHSAA again sent a letter to the School, stating in part, "Hon should have been ineligible for the first 90 school days of attendance during the 2004-05 school year, which would have taken care of his ineligibility under the general transfer rule."
The exception in 36.15(3)"a"(4)"3" explains why Hon was immediately eligible upon his first transfer to Iowa under his J-1 visa. J-1 visas are limited to foreign students who participate in approved exchange programs. They are valid for one year only. 8 U.S.C. section 101(13); 22 C.F.R. sections 62.1, 62.25. Foreign students on F-1 visas are in the United States legally, but are not exchange students. 22 C.F.R. section 62.1(b). The exception for immediate eligibility to participate in interscholastic athletics is limited by Iowa Code section 256.46 to a child who "is a foreign exchange student." In this case, however, Hon is no longer a transfer student. The IHSAA's letters correctly stated the penalty. Hon should have been ineligible for the first 90 school days of the 2004-05 school year. There is no authority in chapter 36 to impose the ineligibility at this point. The penalty to be imposed at this point is against the member school. The record shows that the Board of Control reprimanded the School. There is nothing more that can be done at this point.
That the decision of the Board of Control of the Iowa High School Athletic Association made on September 1, 2005, was reversed.