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Decision Number
Hunter Drake
Daric and Danyel Drake
Iowa High School Athletic Association
Full Text

The Appellant seeks reversal of a decision that the IHSAA Board of Control made on January 14, 2014, finding that Pleasantville High School student Hunter Drake is ineligible to compete in varsity interscholastic athletics for 90 consecutive school days under the provisions of the open enrollment transfer rule, 281 IAC 36.15(4). The school district provided a decision on November 22, 2013. The decision states, "the outcome of your complaint was deemed to be founded harassment allegation." On November 25, 2013 the Carlisle Community School District granted Hunter's Open Enrollment application.

The record reveals that Hunter changed schools pursuant to an Open Enrollment Application. Therefore his eligibility will be governed by 281 IAC 36.15(4). The "good cause" language in 281 IAC 36.15(3)(a)(8) cannot be applied to this situation because Hunter's transfer was not a general transfer.It is clear that Hunter made the decision to transfer schools to avoid the bullying and harassment that he was experiencing at Carlisle High School. However, none of the 9 exceptions that are listed in 281 IAC 36.15(4) allow for Hunter to immediately participate in sports.

Only the Legislature has the power to write statutes and approve administrative rules. The Department can only apply the law that has been written. It would be wholly inappropriate for the Department to apply 281 IAC 36.15(3)(a)(8) to the facts of an open enrollment application.

The Legislature will have to address the problem that the Hunters have raised. It is not the Department's place to change the law that is written, only to apply the law as it is written.

The majority of courts, including the federal courts in Iowa, have held that there is no "right" to participate in interscholastic athletics. Therefore, it cannot be argued that a student is harmed legally by his or her inability to compete.

The January 14, 2014 decision of the Board of Control of the Iowa High School Athletic Association that Hunter Drake is ineligible to compete in varsity interscholastic athletics at Pleasantville High School for a period of 90 consecutive school days is AFFIRMED.