A unique confluence of events inspired both an eligibility lawsuit and a staunch defense against it in Maine, where a formerly homeschooled sophomore has been denied eligibility because the principal at his new school is absolutely convinced the player transferred solely to play baseball.
As reported extensively in the Portland Press Herald, Deering High school sophomore Princehoward Yee was unilaterally denied eligibility to compete as part of the Deering varsity baseball team by school principal Gregg Palmer. While the decision was a crushing one for Yee and his father, Palmer had a very direct reason for rejecting the request, including a statement from Yee himself and, critically, the Deering principal’s most recent job; before he took over at Deering, Palmer was the principal at Falmouth, were Yee was expected to play before his father misrepresented the family’s address so Princehoward could attend Deering without transferring.
Yee served as the Deering starting catcher during his freshman season and the team reportedly expected him to return this year as well.
The details in the case are remarkable. According to the Press-Herald, Yee’s father, Howard Yee, was a prior frequent critic of Deering’s academic standing. Meanwhile, his son was enrolled in the absolute bare minimum two science courses to remain eligible for high school baseball.
Of course, those courses are not nearly as robust as most teenagers at the school take, including his teammates. And a comment from Howard Yee that the family would have enrolled Princehoward at Falmouth had they known he would be barred from the field at Deering only reinforced the notion that the younger Yee’s transfer was made solely for athletic benefit.
Still, the true coup de grâce in Palmer’s defense may be a quote Princehoward Yee reportedly gave to Deering athletic director Melanie Craig: Per the Press Herald, when he said that he was going to attend Deering, “to play baseball.”
All these factors don’t necessarily ensure that Palmer and his co-defendants will escape the lawsuit unscathed. The legal process is always uncertain and can hinge on any small anecdotal piece of evidence on either side.
Still, if ever there was a case where the defense appears to have a wealth of evidence backing up it’s rationale, it sure seems like this might be the one.