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Decision No. 12,747

Appeal of BARBARA L. BUCKENZIE, on behalf of her daughter Joanna, from action of the Board of Education of the Harpursville Central School District regarding participation in interscholastic athletics.

Decision No. 12,747

(July 17, 1992)

Ball, McDonough & Johnson, P.C., attorneys for respondent, Philip J. Artz, Esq., of counsel

SOBOL, Commissioner.--Petitioner seeks review and reversal of a determination regarding her daughter's eligibility to compete in high school interscholastic sports. The appeal must be dismissed.

During the summer after her junior year in high school, petitioner's daughter participated in a student exchange program to New Zealand. When she returned the following summer, she enrolled as a senior at respondent's high school. Upon Joanna making the Harpursville varsity girl's basketball team, a question arose as to her eligibility to play. In a letter dated January 21, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association, Inc. ("Section IV") notified petitioner that her daughter was no longer eligible to compete because she had already competed in a sport during each of four consecutive seasons. This appeal ensued.

Respondent maintains that this appeal must be dismissed because of two procedural deficiencies. Petitioner contests a determination made by Section IV, and not by the named respondent, the Harpursville Board of Education. A decision favorable to petitioner annulling the determination of Section IV would thus necessarily affect only the interest of Section IV. Accordingly, I find that Section IV is a necessary party to this appeal. Moreover, I find that petitioner has failed to set forth any claim against the Board of Education of the Harpursville Central School District. Consequently, the appeal must be dismissed.

The appeal must also be dismissed on the merits. The eligibility rule of the New York State High School Athletic Association, Inc. mirrors '135.4(c)(7)(ii)(b)(1) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education and provides:

A pupil shall be eligible for senior high school athletic competition in a sport during each of four consecutive seasons of such sport.

* * *

If the chief school officer demonstrates to the satisfaction of the section that the pupil's failure to enter competition during one or more seasons of a sport is caused by such pupil's enrollment in a national or international student exchange program or foreign study program, that as a result of such enrollment the pupil will be required to attend school for one or more additional semesters in order to graduate, and that the pupil did not enter competition in any sport while enrolled in such program, such pupil's eligibility shall be extended accordingly in such sport. (emphasis supplied)

The record indicates that petitioner's daughter competed in interscholastic sports during her first three years in high school and while she was attending school in New Zealand. According, Section IV properly found that petitioner's daughter had competed in four consecutive seasons in senior high school and was not a candidate for extended eligibility to participate in interscholastic sports.