Department of Education
1 Matching Record
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October - 2015
Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union
Eligibility, General Transfer Rule
The Appellants sought reversal of a decision that the IGHSAU Board of Directors made as a result of a hearing before it on September 16, 2015, finding that Iowa City West High School student Melanie H. is ineligible to compete in varsity interscholastic athletics for 90 consecutive school days under the general transfer rule, 281--IAC 36.15(3).
The Director of the Department of Education examined the IGHSAU Board of Director
s application of the transfer rule to Melanie to see whether the Board abused its discretion. ''Abuse of discretion is synonymous with unreasonableness, and a decision is unreasonable when it is based on an erroneous application of law or not based on substantial evidence.'' City of Dubuque v. Iowa Utilities Bd., 2013 WL 85807, 4 (Iowa App. 2013), citing Sioux City Cmty. Sch. Dist. v. Iowa Dep
t of Educ., 659 N.W.2d 563, 566 (Iowa 2003) (holding that the Iowa Department of Education erred when it did not apply the abuse of discretion standard).
The key issue here is what is meant by a ''contemporaneous change in parental residence?''
This agency has not faced a factual situation on all fours with the facts of this appeal. The sole question here is whether the IGHSAU Board abused its discretion in ruling Melanie ineligible for varsity interscholastic sports for 90 school days. Under the abuse of discretion standard, the Board
s decision cannot be overturned unless the Board misapplied the law or reached a conclusion unsupported by the underlying facts. Sioux City Cmty. Sch. Dist. v. Iowa Dep
t of Educ., supra.
Here, the IGHSAU Board did not erroneously apply rule 281--IAC 36.15(3) ''a''. It looked at the correct exception and applied a common sense interpretation to the underlying facts. There is substantial evidence that a total family change of residence has not occurred on a permanent basis. The Board noted that the Appellant is very active in the Clinton area. It was not unreasonable for the Board to conclude that the Appellant had no intention of permanently making a move to Iowa City. Therefore, there was no contemporaneous change in parental residence.
The IGHSAU and its Board did not incorrectly apply the general transfer rule to determine that Melanie is ineligible to participate in varsity interscholastic athletics for a period of 90 days. There was no abuse of discretion; the decision must be affirmed.
The September 16, 2015 decision of the Board of Directors of the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union that Melanie H. is ineligible to compete in varsity interscholastic athletics at Iowa City West High School for a period of 90 consecutive school days is AFFIRMED.