School is back in session Arizona! While the heat may remain, summer is, for all intents and purposes, officially over, and our students are back in the books counting down the days to Winter Break. With all the studying, homework, and drama that is inherent in high school, it is understandable that our students need certain outlets to relieve their stress. Among the most effective of these outlets is athletic participation.
Unfortunately, the Arizona Interscholastic Association (“AIA”) prohibits or restricts many students from playing sports due to certain AIA Student Eligibility Rules. For the most part, these rules are in place to prevent schools and parents from exploiting high school sports programs, gaining an unfair competitive advantage, or violating other objectives of the AIA. Nonetheless, the AIA recognizes that not all violations or conflicts with its eligibility rules are within the student-athlete’s control. Accordingly, the AIA does offer an appeals process to challenge any eligibility restrictions.
Most eligibility issues revolve around the AIA’s Transfer Rule. In short, whenever a student transfers to another school within the state of Arizona, they may be deemed ineligible to play certain sports for as much as one year. In many cases these transfers have little or nothing to do with sports. For example:
- The student-athlete’s parent or guardian may be forced to relocate due to professional, financial, or personal reasons.
- The student-athlete’s prior school may have not been appropriately accommodating the student’s educational needs.
- The student-athlete’s prior school may have closed.
While this is a non-exhaustive list of circumstances that may require a student-athlete to transfer, they all have one thing in common: the student-athlete had no control over the circumstances. In such cases, the student is able to appeal his athletic ineligibility pursuant to the AIA’s Hardship exception. Hardship cases are brought before the AIA’s Hardship Appeals Committee, which may waive or modify a student-athletes eligibility status.
At Torgenson Law, we have experience in handling these appeals and hearings for student-athletes and their parents. We understand the social and educational benefits of athletic participation, which is why we want to do our part when your student athlete’s eligibility is in question. If AIA rules are preventing your child from playing high school sports in Arizona, call Torgenson Law at (602) 759-0012.