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.
Seven McGee, a football player for East High School, had his appeal denied by Section V.
“He’s a kid, and every time he’s in the news, or written about in the paper, he’s being reminded that he’s being rejected by an arbitrary rule,” said East Superintendent Dr. Shaun Nelms.
“Seven is a student who has an incredible athletic gift and there’s no questioning that. He moved to Los Angeles, California for a better life,” Dr. Nelms said.
McGee was ruled ineligible due to a transfer rule violation. Following a successful sophomore season with the East High 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.
“I think any law or policy should be written in a way to help all students,” said Dr. Nelms.
Dr. Nelms said he will continue to work to advocate for Seven, including to seek appeals processes, even if it goes up to the state level.
“We will continue to fight until we’re told to not fight anymore, and then we’ll probably continue to fight some more,” Dr. Nelms said.
Dr. Nelms said Seven would be eligible to play in his senior season next fall.
Dr. Nelms released this statement Wednesday:
“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.”
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.
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.”
Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.