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Decision No. 15,317

Appeal of D.M., on behalf of his daughter S.M., from action of the Superintendent of the North Colonie Central School District regarding participation in interscholastic athletics.

Decision No. 15,317

(October 26, 2005)

The Tuttle Law Firm, attorneys for petitioner, James B. Tuttle, Esq., of counsel

David W. Morris, Esq., attorney for respondent

MILLS, Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals the determination of the Superintendent of Schools of the North Colonie Central School District ("superintendent" or "respondent") denying his daughter, S.M., the opportunity to try out for the girl's varsity basketball team. The appeal must be dismissed.

This appeal stems from an incident in 2003-2004 between S.M. and a coach of the district's girl's varsity basketball team. In January 2004, the coach removed S.M. and other players from a game. An argument between S.M. and the coach ensued, and S.M. quit the team. A few days later, S.M. reconsidered her decision and asked to be reinstated. The district's athletic director denied reinstatement.

In September 2004, the Superintendent determined that the coach had acted appropriately and advised S.M. that the coach was willing to reinstate her to the basketball team for the 2004-2005 season, if she apologized for her conduct.

On October 21, 2004, two members of the district's athletics department met with S.M. to resolve this matter and advised her that she must apologize to the coach and the team. By letter dated October 29, 2005, the Superintendent advised S.M. that, because she made no effort to meet the athletic department's condition for reinstatement, she would not be permitted to try out for the basketball team. This appeal ensued. Petitioner's request for interim relief permitting S.M. to try out for the team was granted on December 15, 2004.

Petitioner claims that the district established November 8, 2004 as the deadline for S.M. to apologize and the Superintendent violated S.M.'s due process rights when the Superintendent shortened the deadline and issued her determination on October 29, 2004. Petitioner claims that S.M. planned to apologize on November 3, 2004, at the district's sports night. Petitioner requests an evidentiary hearing to determine what, if any, discipline should be imposed.

Respondent denies that the district treated S.M. unfairly or violated her due process rights. Respondent claims that S.M.'s actions did not evidence an intention to apologize. Respondent also claims that petitioner should be precluded from bringing this appeal because S.M. filed a Title IX claim against the school district on November 11, 2004.

The appeal must be dismissed as moot. 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 B.K. and R.K., 44 Ed Dept Rep 195, Decision No. 15,146; Appeal of V.L., 44 id. 160, Decision No. 15,132; Appeal of Garvin, 44 id. 30, Decision No. 15,087). Because S.M. was allowed to try out for the basketball team for the 2004-2005 season, which has ended, no further meaningful relief can be granted. Accordingly, the appeal is moot.

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