Hoosiers have heard so much hype about school choice in recent years that they might be surprised to learn it still has its limits – and rightly so – with athletic eligibility.
The Indiana High School Athletic Association has ruled that North Central High School basketball standout Eron Gordon is ineligible to play at Cathedral High School.
“We believe it’s as blatant of an athletic transfer as there’s ever been,” said IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox.
Gordon, brother of former Indiana University player Eric Gordon Jr., announced last month he would transfer. Principals from both North Central and Cathedral recommended full waiver eligibility under the IHSAA’s rules regarding a transfer that does not involve moving to a new address. The transfer form reads, in part, that “there is no athletic related motive surrounding the transfer.”
But IHSAA officials weren’t convinced.
“Obviously this is a high-profile transfer and it warranted further examination,” Cox said. “We have situations that come across our desks where both schools have recommended eligibility and there are no red flags. We trust our member schools to make the right recommendation. In this case, we came to the conclusion that the transfer was for athletic reasons.”
Gordon, a top recruit for some major college programs, had complained to the Indianapolis Star about his sophomore season at North Central.
“It was probably the worst basketball I’ve ever played,” he said. “It was rocky back and forth, like our season.”
IHSAA’s ruling shouldn’t be interpreted as a swipe at school choice or parochial schools. The organization has a strong and longstanding working relationship with private and parochial schools. Last year IHSAA granted full eligibility for almost 85 percent of the school transfers requested, with another 8 percent granted limited eligibility.
The Gordon family has said it will appeal the ruling, but the IHSAA’s record suggests it had good reason to determine it was for athletic – not academic – reasons.