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Decision No. 13,558

Appeal of DOUGLAS L. BARTLING, SR., on behalf of his son, DOUGLAS L. BARTLING, JR., from action of the Board of Education of the Rotterdam-Mohonasen Central School District regarding eligibility to participate in interscholastic sports.

Decision No. 13,558

(March 6, 1996)

Buchyn & Buchyn, Esqs., attorneys for respondent, Steven A. Buchyn, Esq., of counsel

MILLS, Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals the determination of the Board of Education of the Rotterdam-Mohonasen Central School District ("respondent") that his son, Douglas, will not be eligible to participate in interscholastic athletics during the 1995-96 school year. The appeal must be dismissed.

Douglas played modified football during the 1990-91 school year. In the 1991-92 school year, he played modified baseball. During the 1992-93 school year, Douglas played junior varsity basketball and baseball. He attended Schalmont High School during the 1993-94 school year. Douglas played varsity basketball during the 1994-95 school year.

Mohonasen Central School District apparently filed an application with the New York State Public High School Athletic Association's Section II Eligibility Committee ("NYSPHSAA") on Douglas's behalf for participation in interscholastic athletics for the 1995-96 school year. That request was denied by letter dated October 12, 1995. This appeal ensued. Petitioner's request for interim relief pending a determination on the merits was denied on November 10, 1995.

Petitioner alleges that his son should be granted extended athletic eligibility due to his emotional problems. He seeks a determination permitting Douglas to play interscholastic sports during the 1995-96 school year. Respondent argues that it is not a proper party to this proceeding since it did not make the eligibility determination. Respondent also contends that the appeal should be dismissed for failure to join the New York State Public High School Athletic Association ("NYSPHSAA"), the entity that made the determination.

Before reaching the merits, I will address respondent's procedural objection. Respondent argues that the appeal should be dismissed for failure to join NYSPHSAA as a party. A party whose rights would be adversely affected by a determination of an appeal in favor of petitioner is a necessary party and must be joined as such (Appeal of Frasier, 34 Ed Dept Rep 315). In this case, NYSPHSAA made the determination, not respondent, so a decision reversing its determination warrants its joinder as a party to this appeal. Since petitioner failed to join NYSPHSAA, the appeal must be dismissed.

The appeal must also be dismissed on the merits. Section 135.4(c)(7)(ii)(b)(1) of the Commissioner's regulations governs student participation in interscholastic sports and provides:

(1) Duration of competition. A pupil shall be eligible for senior high school athletic competition in a sport during each of four consecutive seasons of such sport commencing with the pupil's entry into the ninth grade and prior to graduation, except as otherwise provided in this subclause.

* * *

(i) If sufficient evidence is presented by the chief school officer to the section to show that the pupil's failure to enter competition during one or more seasons of a sport was caused by illness, accident, or similar circumstances beyond the control of the student, such pupil's eligibility shall be extended accordingly in that sport.

Petitioner contends that his son should be allowed to participate in interscholastic athletics during the 1995-96 school year despite the fact that the 1995-96 school year appears to be Douglas's sixth year of eligibility. Petitioner contends that his son's eligibility should be extended due to emotional problems.

A review of the record indicates that petitioner has failed to demonstrate that Douglas did not enter competition because of "illness, accident, or similar circumstances beyond the control of the student" as required in '135.4. It is well settled that a student who does not participate during a period of eligibility, but who is physically able to do so, is not entitled to an extension of eligibility (Appeal of Bethe, 34 Ed Dept Rep 526; Matter of Clowe, 21 id. 192; Matter of Bd. of Educ., Island Trees UFSD, et al., 19 id. 243). In this case, there is no evidence that petitioner's son met the standards for extended eligibility for any of the school years in question.

I have reviewed the parties' remaining contentions and find them without merit.

THE APPEAL IS DISMISSED.

END OF FILE