ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — One of the best football players in the area — and a nationally ranked prospect — is being denied the right to play this year.
Based on rules set forth by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA), Section V Football has denied East High School student athlete Seven McGee the right to play football this season, according to East Superintendent Dr. Shaun Nelms.
McGee was ruled ineligible due to a transfer rule violation. Following a successful sophomore season with the East Eagles, McGee moved to California to enroll in a prep school. After a short stint there — that included a misconduct investigation that involved the prep school’s football coach, principal, assistant principal and athletic director — McGee returned to Rochester.
Kathy Hoyt, Section V Executive Director, said McGee cannot play, but East High School can appeal the decision.
“My job is to make sure all the rules are followed, based on the current transfer rule he is not eligible to play this season,” Hoyt said. “The school applied for a waiver to the transfer rule, he [McGee] did not meet the criteria for a waiver.”
To reiterate, the school does have an opportunity to file an appeal on the decision, but at this point they have not done so.
A student who transfers without a corresponding change in residence of his/her parents (or other persons with whom the student has resided for at least six months prior) is ineligible to participate at the varsity level in any interscholastic athletic contest in a particular sport for a period of one (1) year if as a 9-12 student participated in that sport during the one (1) year period immediately preceding his/her transfer.
Dr. Nelms says the prep school in California has failed to provide proof of enrollment for McGee, which is why he’s not allowed to play.
In a statement released Friday morning, Dr. Nelms said:
“Earlier this year, the McGee family moved Seven, previously an East scholar, to California’s Narbonne High School, one of the top football schools in the country.
While he was there for a few short months and did not participate in any organized school athletics, Seven quickly learned that his school environment and living condition in California were unsafe. In May, the Los Angeles Unified School District opened an investigation into allegations of misconduct at Narbonne High, leading to the football coach, principal, assistant principal, and athletic director having to be reassigned from their duties.
Not wishing to compromise himself or stay in an unsafe environment, Seven has since removed himself from Narbonne and returned to Rochester, where he put in a request to play football at East. Narbonne High, which continues to be under investigation, has not provided the necessary information to Section V that would allow Seven to play football.
Early this week, we asked Section V for a hardship waiver of the transfer rule based on these facts and this young man’s difficult, unfair circumstances leading up to this point. That application was denied Thursday on the basis that Narbonne, the institution being investigated for misconduct, failed to provide any information to support Seven McGee’s waiver request. This young man has been through enough.
At East, it is our responsibility to make sure every student, regardless of race and/or socioeconomic status, is advocated for both inside and outside the classroom. And, we realize that many student-athletes from impoverished neighborhoods — and especially those who have been impacted by the harmful actions of adults — do not always have access to resources and assistance to make an appeal and have equal representation.
On behalf of Seven and his family, we will appeal this decision so that this young man can have an equitable chance to pursue his academic and athletic endeavors at East and beyond high school. This is not about playing or winning a game. Rather, it’s an issue of equity and denying opportunity for a fine young man who tried to do the right thing.“
Not too long ago, McGee’s future seemed bright, but it wasn’t always that way. He was humbled when he only played modified in eighth grade at Leadership Academy.
“When I played modified a lot of people doubted me, A lot of people talked about me,” McGee told News 8 last September. “I took it all in. All that pain and suffering, people calling me names, all the bullying. I remember just sitting in my room hoping one day I can make something of myself.”
The East High Eagles football team is scheduled to host the East Irondequoit Lancers at 6 p.m. Friday.