East High running back/defensive back Seven McGee, a high school All-American football player, will not take the field in Section V this season.
McGee transferred to East from Narbonne High near Los Angeles in May. That made McGee’s eligibility in football subject to New York State Public High School Athletic Association transfer rules, which are enforced by the 11 sections in the organization.
East High first asked Section V for a waiver that would make McGee eligible to play this season. School officials said that they have been unable to obtain all of the paperwork necessary to fit requests by NYSPHSAA and Section V from Narbonne, where the football program is under investigation. East High was notified of the decision on Wednesday.
“We are sad to report that the waiver has since been denied,” East High Superintendent Shaun Nelms said in a statement issued Wednesday afternoon. “It is disappointing that Section V was not more understanding of Seven’s circumstances and his desire to return to his home community and school. We do, however, respect the section’s need to be consistent with the standards that it uses to evaluate appeals. And, while we appreciate the current administration at Narbonne High (where Seven attended for less than 60 days) provided information for the appeal, they could not speak to the conditions that were present at the school under the previous administration.
“We worked diligently to make a case for hardship. As much as we believe that a waiver would have been just and that hardship and opportunity play out differently in various communities and populations, we recognize that Section V represents a large region and must consider many factors in its decisions. Looking ahead, it is unfortunate that Seven will miss his entire junior year of football, and while we have considered all options, it is best that we now help Seven and his teammates to accept the section’s decision and to move forward. Our priority is to focus on Seven and his remaining academic and athletic career and to support him through this difficult life experience.”
Section V executive director Kathy Hoyt denied the request for the waiver.
“My job is to enforce the rules and regulation of the state,” Hoyt said last week. “We have to make eligibility rulings consistent, fair and equitable for all who participate.”
After speaking with his legal team and other administrators, Nelms said another appeal is back on the table.
“We’re hopeful that we can look at other options for Seven, looking at continuing the appeal process at the state and the commissioner’s level. The state itself has a set of rules they have to govern. I give them credit for applying that rule in a consistent manner, I just don’t think it was a fair manner,” Nelms said.
McGee is the second-ranked running back in the class of 2021 by Rivals and has given a verbal commitment to play at the University of Oregon. McGee would be eligible to play football and basketball in 2020 as long as he doesn’t transfer from East.