Mike Harmon, father of star high school basketball recruit Zion Harmon, said the family will appeal a recent ruling by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association that made him ineligible for the 2018-19 season.
“We will sit before an appeals committee and whichever way they rule (eligible or ineligible) we will not complain,” Mike Harmon said in a statement released to KyPrepReport.com. “We are grateful for all that God has allowed Zion to experience and accomplish in these two years. Zion has a plethora of opportunities available to him.”
Zion Harmon announced in June his plan to play the upcoming season at Marshall County in western Kentucky.
It would be the fourth high school program in as many seasons for Harmon, who grew up in Bethesda, Maryland. He played at Antioch (Tennessee) Lighthouse Christian as a seventh-grader, won a state title at Bowling Green as an eighth-grader and scored 32.7 points per game at Adair County last season as a freshman on his way to first-team Courier Journal All-State honors.
The 5-foot-10 Harmon is a stellar floor general who can score from anywhere on the court. His scholarship offers include Alabama, Auburn, Creighton, Jacksonville State, Missouri, New Mexico State, Saint Louis, SMU, Stephen F. Austin, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Western Kentucky. He is expected to reclassify to the Class of 2020, which would give him two more seasons of high school eligibility.
Marshall County coach Terry Birdsong said Harmon did not practice with the team this summer, instead spending time with his Brad Beal Elite team on the Nike EYBL circuit. The first day of classes at Marshall County was Aug. 9. Mike Harmon said his son is enrolled at the school.
Birdsong and other Marshall County officials would not comment on Harmon’s status when contacted in recent days. A KHSAA spokesman also declined to comment.
Reached via phone Monday afternoon, Mike Harmon said his son was ruled ineligible because of the KHSAA’s Bylaw 6, which states all varsity athletes must sit out one year after transferring. The bylaw provides plenty of exceptions, the most common being “a bona fide change of residence” in which the athlete moves or a divorce by the athlete’s parents that leads to a change of residence.
Bylaw 6 also states that the KHSAA may still require an athlete to sit out a year if “the change in schools is motivated in whole or part by a desire to participate in athletics at the new school.”
“The only thing I can do at this point is wait until we get an appeal,” Mike Harmon told the Courier Journal. “I can’t argue. I’m not upset with anyone. We’re thankful to God for all the great experiences he’s had in Kentucky with basketball. I’m not complaining about anything. We just have to wait on the appeal.”
Mike Harmon also addressed the question of why Zion had played at multiple schools instead of staying at one.
“I can’t really go into all of the why of our path,” Mike Harmon said. “That would be almost like saying, ‘Why did Jesus choose his path?’ We live our lives by faith. That’s what we do. If we hadn’t lived our lives by the faith that we live our lives by, guess what? The things that have happened for Zion that have been positive wouldn’t have happened.”
Mike Harmon said he hadn’t decided what path the family might take if the appeal of the KHSAA’s decision is denied.
“All I’ll say is that the Kentucky High School Athletic Association will do the right thing,” Mike Harmon said. “That’s where our faith is. It’s hard for me to comment on anything on the negative side. We just believe in the positives.”