In the Matter of The Albany Academies v. New York State Public High School Athletic Association

43 N.Y.S.3d 583 (2016)

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In the Matter of The Albany Academies v. New York State Public High School Athletic Association

New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division
43 N.Y.S.3d 583 (2016)

EL

Facts

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association (the athletic association) (defendant) modified its athletic-eligibility rule in an attempt to thwart athletic recruitment by school athletic departments and district shopping by students and parents. The athletic association’s transfer rule had prohibited a student who transferred to a new school from engaging in high school athletics for one year unless the student also changed his residence. The modified rule required a student to demonstrate a change of residence was accompanied by physical presence in the new residence and the intent to remain in the new residence indefinitely. The athletic association also modified two of the exceptions to the transfer rule in an attempt to rein in misuse of the rule. One exception to the transfer rule was for children of divorced or separated parents. The rule modification allowed waiver only to children of legally separated parents. Both of these changes were made to stop wealthy parents from acquiring a new residence to justify a transfer to a new school’s athletic program under the guise of separation or a change of residence without even intending to divorce or move. The athletic association also eliminated an educational-waiver provision of the eligibility rule, which formerly allowed a student to transfer to a new school absent a change of address and remain eligible for athletics if the new school offered classes not offered at the student’s previous school. A group of private New York high schools (the schools) (plaintiffs) sued the athletic association in state court, seeking annulment of the athletic-eligibility rule changes. The schools claimed the changes were arbitrary and capricious. The trial court determined there was a rational basis for the rule changes and dismissed the schools’ claim. The schools appealed to the state appellate court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Peters, J.)

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