While Nicolet opened the books on a new school year this week, Desmond Polk started his third week at La Lumiere School in La Porte, Ind.
How the former New Berlin West basketball standout, one of Wisconsin’s top prep prospects for 2020, ended up at a school 150 miles away is a story of race, family and the challenge of meeting WIAA standards when it comes to gaining athletic eligibility after leaving one school for another.
Polk created a buzz in May when he announced his intention to attend Nicolet. That won’t happen now, however. Polk’s father, David, said last week that his son had been denied a waiver of the transfer rule by the WIAA, which means Desmond wouldn’t be eligible for varsity competition for a year.
The WIAA determined Polk’s family did not make a “complete move” to the Nicolet district, which would have made a waiver possible. David Polk, based on his interpretation of the rule, thought his son’s situation met that necessary criteria.
“Our thought process was I’m Desmond’s sole custodial parent. Me and his mom split up, probably about 13 years ago and I’ve got sole custody and placement of him,” he said.
“That said, no one else can enroll him for anything in any school, but the WIAA’s stance currently is that my current wife, his stepmother, and his two half-sisters have to move to Glendale for him to get eligibility. That’s not going to happen because of our own personal reasons.”
Desmond Polk was to be part of a massive talent influx at Nicolet.