Decision No. 18,157
Appeal of V.C, on behalf of her child, from action of the New York City Department of Education regarding participation in interscholastic athletics.
Decision No. 18,157
(July 20, 2022)
Georgia M. Pestana, Corporation Counsel of the City of New York, attorney for respondent, Copatrick Thomas, Esq., of counsel
ROSA., Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals a decision of the New York City Department of Education (“respondent”) that denied her request to allow her child (“the student”) to participate in interscholastic basketball and tennis during the 2021-2022 school year. The appeal must be dismissed.
The student turned 19 in June 2021, prior to the commencement of the 2021-2022 school year. The student sought a waiver from the Public Schools Athletic League (“PSAL”) to permit him to compete on the basketball and tennis teams for the 2021-2022 school year. The PSAL denied the student’s request, stating that “there are no waivers or exceptions [to] the … age regulation.”
An athletic director, acting on behalf of the student, appealed the decision. In a decision issued January 4, 2022, respondent affirmed PSAL’s determination and denied the student’s request, stating that the student remained ineligible due to his age. This appeal ensued. Petitioner’s request for interim relief was denied on February 15, 2022.
Petitioner contends that the student should be allowed to participate in interscholastic basketball and tennis despite having attained the age of 19 prior to the 2021-2022 school year due to extenuating personal circumstances.
Respondent asserts that petitioner was ineligible to participate in interscholastic sports during the 2021-2022 school year because he turned 19 years old prior to July 1 and there is no waiver for the age limit for interscholastic competition except in limited circumstances not relevant here.
This 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 that no longer exists due to the passage of time or a change in circumstances (Appeal of Sutton, 57 Ed Dept Rep, Decision No. 17,331; Appeal of a Student with a Disability, 48 id. 532, Decision No. 15,940; Appeal of M.M., 48 id. 527, Decision No. 15,937; see Matter of Hearst Corp. v Clyne, 50 NY2d 707, 714 ). Where the Commissioner can no longer award a petitioner meaningful relief on his or her claims, no live controversy remains and the appeal must be dismissed (Appeal of R.B., 57 Ed Dept Rep, Decision No. 17,394; Appeal of N.C., 40 id. 445, Decision No. 14,522). Petitioner’s request for interim relief was denied and the 2021-2022 school year has concluded. Consequently, the matter is moot.
Even if the appeal were not dismissed on procedural grounds, it would be dismissed on the merits. Section 135.4 (c) (7) (ii) (b) (1) of the Commissioner’s regulations provides, in relevant part, that “[a] pupil shall be eligible for interschool competition in grades 9, 10, 11 and 12 until the last day of the school year in which he or she attains the age of 19.” Petitioner admits that the student attained the age of 19 prior to July 1 of the 2021-2022 school year and does not argue that any exception to the age limitation applies. Therefore, respondent correctly determined that petitioner was ineligible to compete in interscholastic athletics during the 2021-2022 school year (Appeal of C.S., 61 Ed Dept Rep, Decision No. 18,056; Appeal of Cham, 55 id., Decision No. 16,873).
In light of this disposition, I need not address the parties’ remaining contentions.
THE APPEAL IS DISMISSED.
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