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Decision Number
Marissa Malone
Ronald J. Malone
Iowa Girls' High School Athletic Union
Full Text

The Appellant, Ronald J. Malone, seeks reversal of a decision that the IGHSAU Board of Directors made on April 12, 2013, finding that Marissa Malone, an eighth-grade student currently enrolled at Mazzuchelli Catholic Junior High School in Dubuque, Iowa, is ineligible to compete in softball at Dubuque Senior High School while still attending Mazzuchelli Catholic Junior High School.

The Dubuque Senior High School softball coach informed Marissa that since she was transferring from the non-public school system to the public school system, she could not participate in softball at Dubuque Senior High School until after her last day of junior high school.

Marissa and her father are concerned that if she is not permitted to practice with the team or compete until after June 6, 2013, then one-third of the season will be over. The team will already have been selected and positions will have been assigned.

On their face, the IGHSAU regulations appear to permit Marissa to practice and compete with the Dubuque Senior High School team while she is still attending the non-public junior high school. The IGHSAU has interpreted and applied their regulations, however, to allow eighth grade students to play softball with the high school team only if the students are attending eighth grade and high school within the same (public or non-public) school system. If the eighth grade student will be attending high school in a different school system, the student must wait until after the last day of the student's current school to participate (in both practice and competition) on the high school team.

The IGHSAU's denial of Marissa's request is not inconsistent with the Iowa Department of Education administrative rules, which allow a student to compete in interscholastic athletics the summer following eighth grade. The Department has no jurisdiction, however, to review or reverse the regulations or policies of its registered organizations. Therefore, the Department lacks jurisdiction to decide the ultimate issue presented by this appeal.

The appeal is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.