It was reported earlier in the week that a hearing officer for the Kentucky High School Athletics Association has ruled that University of Kentucky basketball recruit Dakotah Euton is eligible to play for Scott County High School this year, subject to approval from the Board of Control. This is a reversal of a ruling by KHSAA Commissioner Brigid DeVries and is a good and logical decision.
Euton's father lost his job with an architectural firm in the Ashland area and the family moved to Georgetown after Mr. Euton landed a job with a firm in Lexington. The KHSAA allows eligibility for athletes that have a bona fide change of address, and we cannot think of a more legitimate reason for moving than taking a new job in a distant city after you lose your old job.
This is a good individual decision but it still does nothing to rein in the KHSAA's arrogance and heavy-handedness in dealing with schools that come under court order to play certain athletes when the eligibility is in dispute. Even if a school is ordered by a court to allow an athlete to compete, the KHSAA still urges the school not to let the player play and threatens the school with forfeitures of on-field wins and post-season revenue if the ruling is overturned on appeal.
The state Department of Education needs to pass a regulation, sooner rather than later, that strips the KHSAA's ability to punish schools that abide by court rulings in good faith. It is not fair for the KHSAA to put schools in the position of either forfeiting wins, or subjecting school personnel to contempt of court citations or other legal liabilities, when a court orders a school to do something.
If the DOE won't do it, then the legislature should. The KHSAA is no longer an independent body; it's part of the state government educational system even though private schools participate in KHSAA post-season tournaments.