(1-19-19) You decide…here are three recent boys basketball players who transferred in the state of Ohio this year. Rulings (one indirectly) from the OHSAA have decided if they are eligible to play this season.

  • 1- LaMelo Ball – Spire Academy
  • 2-Andre Gordon – Sidney
  • 3-Blake Booker – Oak Harbor

LaMelo Ball is in his first year at SRIRE Academy.  a prep school located in Geneva (Ohio), after not playing high school basketball in the US last season. The California native played with his father (Coach) and older brother in Lithuania with a professional basketball team.

Andre Gordon  after competing for Sidney in the 2017-18 basketball season he decided to transfer in the spring  to Huntington (W Va) Prep to concentrate on his basketball career.

Blake Booker who attended Put-In-Bay, Ohio’s only (Lake Erie) island school, as a freshman and decided to transfer to Oak Harbor as an open enrollment student to live with his grandparents.

Two of the three will complete their 2018-19 seasons, one of them was ruled ineligible and played his last game last weekend. This player did not qualify for any of the 11 exceptions the OHSAA allows for a transfer student.

LaMelo Ball, who is a California native, plays for SPIRE Academy this year, even though SPIRE is not a member of the OHSAA and has played as a pro… SPIRE is allowed to compete against any OHSAA member school, not all states allow this to take place (Illinois will NOT sanction any SPIRE games vs a member school).

From earlier in the year this statement to SSN–

OHSAA Executive Director Jerry Snodgrass:

Spire is a non-member and since there are no “points” given on any rating/playoff system, there is essentially no jurisdiction over them at all. Since Ohio is one of a few states that does not restrict who its members play, any agreement to play them is a contract executed between the two and if a school elected to void a contract with them, they would be subject to the consequences spelled out between the two.

With this in place any OHSAA player can transfer to play at SPIRE and immediately be eligible to play, including games with OHSAA member schools. Pandora’s box is open for this to happen.

Andre Gordon  after transferring in the Spring attended Huntington Prep (highly regarded and nationally known prep basketball program) during the fall, but decided two weeks before the 2018-19 basketball season started he decided to return to Sidney.  Gordon was ruled to be eligible by the OHSAA for the entire season and will not miss a game or any post-season games. (No reply from OHSAA on what exception was used to qualify). While at Huntington Prep he was a part of their basketball program and thanks to his time their he received and accepted an offer to play at DI Virginia Tech.

Blake Booker, a sophomore guard, finished his season last week after being able to play the first 11 games of the season for Oak Harbor.  This is the first year of the new OHSAA transfer rule that allows an open enrollment student to play in the first 11 games of the season,  eliminating the last part of the schedule and any tournament game.

OHSAA director of compliance Kristin Ronai wrote in an email to the Sandusky Register:

“Since the OHSAA was unable to find any exception which applied, Blake had to fulfill the consequence requiring him to sit out the second half of the season and the OHSAA tournament in any sport in which he participated during the 12 months immediately preceding his transfer.

“Our office is not permitted to ‘make’ our own exceptions — we can only determine if the requirements of an exception can be ‘met.’ In this case, no exception could be met and the Appeals Panel upheld that ruling.”

Put-In-Bay, according to the OHSAA Directory, has an official enrollment of 5 boys and 5 girls.

However; Oak Harbor coach Eric Sweet told the Sandusky Register:

His whole intention coming to Oak Harbor was to play varsity athletics and he wouldn’t have that opportunity at Put-in-Bay. They don’t play a varsity schedule.

Booker averaged 10.5 points per game,  25 3-pointers in 11 (six 3s in two separate games).

Two of the 11 exceptions that should apply to  Booker’s situation:

exemption 3