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OHSAA and Lima Senior Logos

(1-18-17) The OHSAA has overturned their ineligibility ruling and will now allow Javier Quinones (Senior-Point Guard) to start playing basketball immediately for Lima Senior. The Association overturned the ruling on Tuesday (17th), it was announced on the 5th that he would be denied eligibility and  that the matter would be  appealed on the 12th by his parents. One item that is a part of the ruling change is that Quinones will not be allowed to play in any OHSAA tournament game. The first game he can  participate in for the Spartans is this Friday night against Oregon Clay.

The other Lima Senior player ruled ineligible,  Jatsiel Colon (Junior) did not appeal the ruling and will not play this season.

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Statement Regarding Lima Senior Boys Basketball

Tim Stried – Director of Communications

“Two students who recently transferred to Lima Senior High School were ruled ineligible by the OHSAA for the 2016-17 basketball season due to violations of Bylaw 4-9-1, Recruiting. On January 12, the family of one of the students appealed that decision to the OHSAA Appeals Panel, and the panel upheld the ruling. Following the appeal, however, legal representatives and the OHSAA staff have agreed to allow the student to participate in basketball for a portion of the 2016-17 regular-season pending the student, family and school all agree to certain conditions. The student is not eligible to play in the 2017 OHSAA postseason basketball tournament, and the student’s high school eligibility will end following the regular-season. Despite the penalty being modified so that the student can participate for several weeks during the regular-season, the OHSAA will continue to work with all member school administrators and coaches, including Lima Senior, regarding impermissible recruiting activities. In addition, the student-athlete who did not appeal on January 12 will be eligible to participate next season pending the standard conditions of eligibility and residence have been met.”

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Brad Kelley of Huffman, Kelley, Brock & Gottschalk – photo courtesy of Huffman, Kelley, Brock & Gottschalk

Brad Kelley of the Law Firm Huffman, Kelley, Brock & Gottschalk gives us a detailed response to what took place during this process.

The case is concluded and there is no chance Quinones will play in tournament. The other significant issue is,this is not an “out of country transfer“. These young man are naturalized U.S. Citizens and this is no different than a family from Ft. Wayne moving to Lima.

Also,these folks didn’t stick their children with some strange Guardian to try and circumvent the rules. They picked up their families and moved entirely (from Puerto Rico) getting housing and jobs in the school district. These were classic legitimate bona fide change of resident cases.

The problem ensued with the OHSAA putting their approval on the transfer until they investigated -how they got here. In addition to the transfer rule is a recruitment rule. The transfer rule has a 50% penalty while the recruitment rule has an entire calendar year penalty.

Lost in the shuffle is a legitimate interest in Puerto Rican families to leave the conditions in Puerto Rico. They are just like all of us wanting the best for their children and the government,the schools and the cost of living in Puerto Rico over the past few years has deteriorated. These people have struggled for a couple of years now finding a suitable alternative for their children. They were turned on to the Lima community by a former Lima Senior player who graduated and played at Toledo and played professional ball for many years and who has become a rock star in PR.

A chance meeting with that player at a clinic in Puerto Rico caused the families to inquire how he “did it” got out and went on to graduate from high school, college and play ball on the mainland in the US.  Again this is a constant dream for young kids in Puerto Rico.

That young man gave both families glowing reports about his life experiences and they asked him for a contact to discuss the future. Both families visited Lima in July, toured the school spoke to counselors and teachers and other personnel and were very impressed. It was compatible educationally work wise and the cost-of-living was much better than they were leaving.

After a few days in Lima they returned to Puerto Rico and made the decision to make the move. They did everything the right way, however the recruiting rule forbids “any” influencing to secure enrollment of a student athlete. It is a very broad rule and the entire case turned on the word ‘influence’.

The reality is everyone is influenced in some fashion. I influenced my own children as to where to go to school. The influence by the way cannot come from anyone regardless of whether they are connected or unconnected to the school.

There should really be an adjective prior to the word influence such as inappropriate,undue or in permissible., I think quite honestly that the OHSAA had a hard time thinking that anyone could come to Lima, Ohio without having been improperly influence.

Both these families had visited and interviewed at other facilities in Houston, Texas, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, Florida and other places where Puerto Rican kids had moved, but for these folks the job opportunities, cost of living and even the actual cost of the education was prohibitive and just not doable for these two families. Keep in mind, they were moving the whole family so it was more than just a basketball decision. Cost of living was very important and one mom is even working on a doctorate and Wright St. and BGSU were nearby and welcoming. They are delighted with the opportunities Lima has offered them. Both boys have flourished and are on the honor roll. Both have taken advantage of several opportunities which Lima Senior offers including English as a second language,OGT test tutoring and ACT preparation. These are two very nice families and two very nice young men. They are very comfortable and socially fit in very well.

The Quinones boy is a senior and really had no choice as there is no tomorrow for him. The Colon boy is a junior and can play next year. His family had some work and religious priorities which prevented them from appealing their son’s case. They simply chose to sit out the year. Life can be complicated.

I think that OHSAA gave us a fair opportunity to present our case and were aware of the young man’s best interest yet wanted to balance it all against there other member schools which whine regardless. This solution which we came to gives the young Quinones boy an opportunity he and his family came here for while at the same time perhaps telling its member schools to be careful and cognizant of ALL the rules.

I am from Boston and a huge New England fan. I think that the OHSAA has done a nice job of delegating the appeal process to a three member panel of OHSAA members to avoid the same person hearing the appeal who made the appeal. Kind of like Goodell being judge, jury and executioner in Deflategate. Here at least you feel like you have a chance to have fresh eyes and ears to review the original decision. I think that is a good and I applaud the OHSAA and it’s members for taking this step.They did back in 2012 and renewed the process this year as I think the members felt it works well, or at least better than the prior mechanism.It is a constant struggle to serve the membership but at the same time-the kids should always be the focus.

Ideally,one would need an authentic video of a family in their living room throwing darts at a map of the US and simply landing their singular dart on Lima, Ohio and only then could you conclude that all is well under the rules. I am not sure though that someone would still not question that the dart manufacturer once lived in Lima!

That being said, I am very satisfied that Javier will play in several games and get to do what he loves to do and that his parents will get to watch him play. We could have and were prepared to seek a court solution but that was expensive, time consuming and with some risk. My clients seem delighted with the result we were able to work out with the OHSAA and I am appreciative to the commissioner and counsel for the OHSAA for their cooperation and understanding in this difficult situation.

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