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Indiana High School Athletic Association, Inc. v. Avant
Indiana Court of Appeals
650 N.E.2d 1164 (1995)
Bilal Avant (plaintiff) attended and played basketball for three years at a private high school, Andrean. In the summer before his senior year, Avant transferred to Roosevelt (defendant), the designated public high school for his residence, without having to move. Avant was an outstanding athlete, and he wanted to play varsity basketball for Roosevelt. Both Andrean and Roosevelt were members of the Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) (defendant), which maintained an athletic-eligibility rule for transfer students. The primary purpose of the transfer rule was to eliminate school jumping and recruitment of student athletes. Under the transfer rule, a student who transferred to a member school with a change of residence (moving transfer) would be immediately eligible for varsity sports, while a transfer without a change of residence (nonmoving transfer) would not be eligible for one year but could be immediately eligible for junior-varsity sports if the transfer was not for “primarily athletic reasons.” The IHSAA maintained a hardship rule, which provided an exception to the transfer rule if a nonmoving transfer was motivated by a family’s changed financial condition. The IHSAA found Avant ineligible for varsity sports for his senior year at Roosevelt but allowed his participation in junior-varsity sports. The IHSAA determined that Avant’s transfer was not demonstrably for “primarily athletic reasons” but that athletics was a factor in his decision. For instance, Avant had been dissatisfied with the coaching staff at Andrean. The IHSAA found that Avant did not qualify for a hardship exception. Avant sued IHSAA and Roosevelt challenging the constitutionality of the transfer rule, and the trial court ruled in his favor, ordering the IHSAA to allow Avant’s participation in varsity sports. IHSAA appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Garrard, J.)
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