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Decision Number
Athletic Eligibility
Samuel Fort
Iowa Department of Education
Full Text

Samuel Fort seeks reversal of a decision that the Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) Board of Control (Board) made denying his request for additional eligibility under the provisions of eligibility requirements, 281 IAC 36.15(2).

Samuel Fort played football during his freshman year of 2014 in Massachusetts and sustained an injury toward the end of the season causing him to miss the four remaining games. Toward the end of 2014, Samuel and his family endured hardships which led to a significant amount of school being missed and his loss of academic credit.

The family moved to Oklahoma during the second semester of Samuel's 2014-15 freshman year. Following the move, Mr. Fort struggled academically and was unable to move on to sophomore year.

Due to failing grades, Mr. Fort was ineligible to play football during the first five games of the 2015 season. Following his parents' separation and mother's move at the end of the 2015-16 school year, Samuel chose to stay in Oklahoma. He attended the same high school in 2016-17 and played football during the 2016 season. During the 2017-18 school year, Mr. Fort transferred to a private boarding school in Virginia where he played football.

Mother and son relocated to Iowa, and he enrolled at Dowling High School in 2018. Mr. Fort requested that he be eligible to participate in interscholastic athletics during the 2018-19 school year. Mr. Fort asserts that had been able to take summer school following his freshman year, he would have but his family could not afford the classes. Mr. Fort did not want to repeat freshman year, but that was out of his control. He had no control over the hardships he faced and did not want to sit out of school at any point. He currently has scholarship offers to play football in college and fears that if he does not play football during the 2018 season, those scholarships will be withdrawn.

Mr. Fort attended school for eight consecutive semesters and had the opportunity to play football for four years. ALJ concludes that Appellant did not meet his burden to show that the Board abused its discretion in finding no compelling and/or unique circumstances to justify granting Mr. Fort an extension of the eight-semester rule. The decision of the IHSAA Board of Control made on July 24, 2018, is AFFIRMED.