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Decision No. 14,409

Appeal of THE LASALLE INSTITUTE OF TROY, NEW YORK from action of Section II of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association, Inc., regarding reclassification of athletic programs.

Decision No. 14,409

(July 28, 2000)

Pattison, Sampson, Ginsberg & Griffin, P.C., attorneys for petitioners, Charles F. Carletta, Esq., of counsel

Higgins, Roberts, Beyerl & Coan P.C., attorneys for respondent, Michael E. Basile, Esq., of counsel

MILLS, Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals the reclassification of certain of their athletic programs by Section II of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association, Inc. ("Section II" or "respondent") for the 1999-2000 school year. The appeal must be dismissed.

Petitioner is a nonpublic high school operating under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Church. It is a member of the Big Ten Athletic conference. Petitioner has an all-male student body and at the time this appeal was commenced, had a high school population of 372 students. From 1977-1999, respondent’s entire athletic program was classified as class "B" under respondent’s classification system, with the exception of petitioner’s football program, which was designated class "A".

On August 1, 1998, respondent modified Article II Section 1(f) of its constitution with regard to the membership of non-public schools. As a result of this change, respondent also established new guidelines for the classification of non-public schools. On December 3, 1998, respondent’s classification committee determined that petitioner's entire athletic program, except for football (which was already designated class "A") would be reclassified from class "B" for each sport to class "A" for all sports. Petitioner objected to this reclassification. On February 3, 1999, respondent's athletic council overruled petitioner's objection. On March 4, 1999, petitioner appealed the reclassification. On June 2, 1999, respondent's classification committee denied petitioner's appeal but placed the appeal on the agenda for the entire Section II Athletic Council to consider on October 7, 1999. On October 7, 1999, Section II affirmed the February 3, 1999 decision to reclassify petitioner's entire athletic program.

On November 22, 1999, petitioner commenced this appeal. On January 14, 2000, respondent rescinded its previous reclassification, indicating that petitioner’s sports program would remain in class "B" for the 1999-2000 school year (with the exception of the football program which had previously been designated class "A").

Petitioner argues that Section II failed to comply with its own procedures and policies regarding the classification of athletic programs. Petitioner argues that respondent’s reclassification of its athletic program was arbitrary and capricious. Respondent asserts that the appeal must be dismissed as moot.

The appeal is dismissed as moot. The only remedy sought by petitioner in this appeal is the retention of its 1998-1999 athletic program classification during the 1999-2000 school year. In January 2000, respondent rescinded its previous reclassification and instructed petitioner that its athletic programs (with the exception of football) would remain classified as class "B." Since the relief requested by petitioner was granted by respondent's action negating its prior decision, there is no live controversy remaining before the Commissioner. It is well settled that the Commissioner will only decide matters which are in actual controversy and will not render a decision upon facts which no longer exist or which subsequent events have laid to rest (Appeal of Wood, 39 Ed Dept Rep 198, Decision No. 14,213; Appeal of Alan G., 38 id. 46, Decision No. 13,978; Appeal of Boehm, 37 id. 208, Decision No. 13,844).

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