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Decision No. 13,198

Appeal of JUDY WURTZMAN, on behalf of MARC WURTZMAN, from action of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association, Inc., regarding participation in interscholastic athletics.

Decision No. 13,198

(June 10, 1994)

Stephen K. Lindley, Esq., attorney for petitioner

Daniel Mooney, Esq., attorney for respondent

SOBOL, Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals on behalf of her son, Marc Wurtzman, from respondent's determination that Marc is ineligible to participate in interscholastic competition in tennis for one year beginning December 5, 1991. The appeal must be dismissed.

Petitioner's son was a junior at Brighton High School in the Brighton Central School District. He was a member of the Brighton varsity tennis team for three successive years while in the eighth, ninth, and tenth grades. According to the school's varsity tennis coach, Marc was ranked among the top four tennis players in the State. Petitioner alleges that in September 1991, Marc moved to Deerfield, Florida to improve his game. While in Florida, he began his junior year at a nonpublic school.

Petitioner alleges that Marc did not play tennis for that nonpublic school during his stay in Florida. Petitioner also alleges that Marc did not return to Florida after his Thanksgiving break because he was homesick and dissatisfied with the course offerings at the nonpublic school. Instead, Marc transferred back to Brighton High School on December 5, 1991.

Marc alleges that in the spring of 1992 his coach told him he would not be eligible to play tennis for the school because of respondent's transfer rule. The rule at issue is "Eligibility Standard #12 Transfer, Section b":

(b) A student who transfers without a corresponding change in residence of his/her parents (or other persons with whom the student has resided for at least six months) is ineligible to participate in any interscholastic athletic contest in a particular sport for a period of one (1) year if the student participated in that sport during the one (1) year period immediately preceding his/her transfer.

The rule provides exemptions for: (1) students who reach majority and establish residency in the district, (2) students who transfer from a private or parochial school which has ceased to operate, (3) students who are wards of the State and are placed in a district by court order, and (4) students whose parents are divorced or separated and who move into the district with one parent. In addition, the rule permits a student to petition for a waiver based on undue hardship.

When the appeal was filed, petitioner requested interim relief, which was granted on May 28, 1992. The interim order directed respondent to restore Marc's eligibility to play tennis as an interscholastic activity. While this order was issued as interim relief, it is clear from a review of the record that such order granted the ultimate relief sought by petitioner since Marc was in the last semester of his junior year when the order was issued. Since he is no longer a secondary student, the appeal has become moot and will be dismissed on that basis (Appeal of Winkler, 33 Ed Dept Rep 334; Appeal of Johnson, 32 id. 662; Appeal of Langenmayr, 30 id. 322).