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Decision No. 17,107

Appeal of a STUDENT WITH A DISABILITY, by his parent, from action of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association, Section VI of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association and the Board of Education of the Orchard Park Central School District regarding athletic eligibility.

Decision No. 17,107

(June 21, 2017)

Renee James, Esq., attorney for respondent New York State Public High School Athletic Association

Hodgson Russ LLP, attorneys for respondent Section VI of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association, Elizabeth D. McPhail, Esq., of counsel

Hodgson Russ LLP, attorneys for respondent Board of Education of the Orchard Park Central School District, Jeffrey F. Swiatek, Esq., of counsel

ELIA, Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals a determination of Section VI of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (“NYSPHSAA”) that his son (“the student”) is not eligible to participate in interscholastic sports as a member of the Orchard Park High School varsity football team for the 2016-2017 season.  The appeal must be dismissed.

During the 2016-2017 school year, petitioner’s son was a twelfth grade student at Orchard Park High School in the Orchard Park Central School District (“the district”). The record indicates that the student entered ninth grade in the 2012-2013 school year.  Petitioner asserts that the student did not participate in interscholastic athletics in the 2012-2013 school year as a result of his disability and corresponding anxiety related to such disability.  In the 2013-2014 school year, the student participated as a member of the district’s cross country track team.  In the 2014-2015 school year, the student participated as a member of the junior varsity football team.  The following year, 2015-2016, the student participated as a member of the district’s varsity football team.  The record indicates that as a result of the student’s disability and his challenges transitioning to high school in the 2012-2013 school year, the student requires an additional year of high school to graduate. 

According to the parties, on July 28, 2016, the district submitted a request for extended eligibility to the NYSPHSAA Section VI Extended Eligibility Committee (“Eligibility Committee”) for the student’s participation during the fall 2016 football season.  By letter dated August 1, 2016, the Eligibility Committee denied the district’s request citing that the student was never denied an opportunity to participate in interscholastic athletics in the 2012-2013 school year.  This appeal ensued.  A request for interim relief was granted on September 1, 2016.

The Commissioner will only decide matters in actual controversy and will not render a decision on a state of facts which no longer exist or which subsequent events have laid to rest (Appeal of a Student with a Disability, 48 Ed Dept Rep 532, Decision No. 15,940; Appeal of M.M., 48 id. 527, Decision No. 15,937; Appeal of Embro, 48 id. 204, Decision No. 15,836).  Petitioner’s request for relief concerns his son’s participation in interscholastic football during the 2016-2017 school year.  Since the 2016-2017 football season has concluded, the appeal must be dismissed as moot.

In light of this disposition, I need not address the parties’ remaining contentions.

THE APPEAL IS DISMISSED.  

END OF FILE