SCS heads to court over TSSAA’s East High ruling

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County Schools will be in court on Wednesday challenging a ruling that two East High School basketball players are ineligible to play.

In November, the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) ruled Ryan Boyce and James Wiseman would not be allowed to play this season because of what’s known as the “athletic coaching link” rule for transfer students.

The rule, as it appears in the 2017 to 2018 TSSAA Handbook, reads:

“If a student with an athletic record transfers to a new school where an “athletic coaching link” existed in the past 12 months, that student is ineligible for 12 months at all levels in the specific sports where a linkage was present. Links may include (1) attendance at an individual camp (and then transferring); (2) playing on non-school (independent) teams (and then transferring to that coach’s school); (3) transferring into a school where a former coach has been hired; and (4) transferring to a school where a former or current personal trainer or strength and conditioning coach is employed.”

Boyce and Wiseman transferred to East High School this year after playing for Penny Hardaway’s summer league team. Hardaway is also a coach at the school.

In November, Superintendent Dorsey Hopson said the ruling “irreparably prejudices our students and families.”

“These two young men are in good academic standing and have met all of the requirements to attend East High School,” he said. “There are serious process concerns with the seemingly arbitrary ruling which raise questions about the fairness of the decision. Moreover, the rule that the TSSAA relied on in declaring these student athletes ineligible is ambiguous at best and appears to have been arbitrarily applied.”

The players weren’t banned from playing for long after the initial ruling. SCS was granted a temporary injunction, allowing Boyce and Wiseman to play for East High School until Wednesday’s hearing.