The Diocese of Jackson, which oversees Cathedral, St. Joseph Catholic School (Greenville), St.Joseph Catholic School (Madison) and St. Aloysius, released a statement Monday regarding the Mississippi High School Activities Association’s decision to uphold a rule that prevents out-of-state students from participating in athletics and activities.
Cathy Cook, the superintendent of catholic education for the Diocese of Jackson, presented an appeal to the MHSAA last week after the organization voted in June to begin enforcing the rule that has been in its handbook for several years. The MHSAA’s executive committee voted 9-1 last Tuesday to uphold the rule.
The statement reads:
The decision of MHSAA to begin enforcing its out-of-state student and 20 mile radius rules will have an immediate impact of prohibiting out-of-state and other commuter students who up until recently have been allowed to participate in MHSAA events without objection. The decision by MHSAA to invoke immediate enforcement is particularly problematic for those students that have been members of our schools since their elementary school years. We are very disappointed in the MHSAA’s decision and the effect it will have on our student athletes.
This is particularly difficult for students (and their families) that have been members of our school community since elementary school and are now faced with the possibility of being denied the opportunity to participate in athletics and extracurricular activities.
These hard-working student athletes deserve an opportunity to play at the appropriate competitive level at the school of their choice. The schools and the diocese will continue to advocate on behalf of our student athletes. The schools and their stakeholders are reviewing their next steps and will decide what they will do with regards to membership in an activities association based upon what it best for their student body and the school.