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MIAA Prevails in Eligibility Dispute

On January 28, 2013, Superior Court Judge Paul E. Troy ruled in favor of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) in a dispute involving a Canadian hockey player residing in Hull.  The case involved a 16-year hold Hull High School student who recently moved from Newfoundland to play on a local club hockey team.  When he sought to play hockey for Hull High School, school officials requested a waiver of the MIAA rules pertaining to transfer students.  The MIAA rules pertaining to transfer students are designed to prevent “forum shopping” and recruiting student-athletes.  The MIAA denied Hull High School’s request for a waiver and the case was appealed through the MIAA and eventually by the student and his host-family to court.  


In upholding the MIAA’s rule and decision regarding the waiver, the court declined to find that the student would suffer “irreparable harm” if not allowed to play high school hockey.  The court emphasized that the student was not at risk for losing a scholarship or that he would suffer any other substantial losses.  The court further noted that the student would be eligible to play next year if he remained in Hull.  It also recognized the considerable discretion of the MIAA to determine when waivers are appropriate for transfer students.  Finally, the court found that in balancing the harms, the scales would not tip in favor of the plaintiffs.  The court noted that by granting injunctive relief, which would have allowed the student to play the remainder of the season, it would be creating a loophole that would allow parents, boosters and club hockey coaches to recruit student-athletes for high schools in a unofficial capacity.

John Simon, Esq. represented the MIAA in its opposition for injunctive relief.