Skip to main content

Decision No. 15,999

Appeal of a STUDENT WITH A DISABILITY, by his parents, from action of Section VI of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association, Inc. regarding participation in interscholastic athletics.

Decision No. 15,999

(October 26, 2009)

Hodgson Russ LLP, attorneys for respondent, Elizabeth D. Carlson, Esq., of counsel

STEINER, Commissioner.--Petitioners appeal the determination of Section VI of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association, Inc. (“NYSPHSAA” or “respondent”) that their son was ineligible for interscholastic competition for the spring 2009 track season.  The appeal must be dismissed.

During the 2008-2009 school year, petitioners’ son was 20 years of age and attended Amherst High School in the Amherst Central School District (“the district”).  Prior to that, he had completed his four years of athletic eligibility on the Amherst High School track team.  On March 13, 2009, 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 spring 2009 track season.  The Eligibility Committee denied the district’s request because the student had reached his 19th birthday prior to July 1, 2008 and already participated in the track program for four consecutive seasons. 

On March 31, 2009, the district appealed to the Section VI Executive Committee.  The Executive Committee held a hearing on April 22, 2009.  By letter dated April 22, 2009, the district was informed that the Executive Committee denied the appeal and that its decision could be appealed to the Section VI Athletic Council within 14 days.  On April 29, 2009, the district appealed that determination to the NYSPHSAA Section VI Athletic Council (“the Council”), which scheduled a hearing for May 20, 2009.  This appeal ensued.  Petitioners’ request for interim relief was denied on May 12, 2009. 

Respondent contends that the appeal is moot because the last track meet of the spring 2009 season occurred on May 19, 2009 and the district thereafter withdrew its request for an appeal to respondent on the student’s behalf.  Petitioners did not submit a reply and do not refute these allegations.  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 Tine, 46 Ed Dept Rep 579, Decision No. 15,600; Appeal of N.C., 46 id. 358, Decision No. 15,532; Appeal of Lombardo, 46 id. 282, Decision No. 15,508).  Since both the track season and the 2008-2009 school year have ended, the appeal is moot.

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