Members of the Utah High School Activities Association convened Tuesday morning to hear five cases regarding different appeals for different transfer and eligibility issues. But one case in particular stood out among the handful.
Two students at the Logan River Academy, a residential treatment center based in Cache Valley for at-risk youths, tried out for the Logan High School boys' basketball team prior to the start of the season and made the team. Despite being under supervision 24 hours a day, seven days a week at the center, the two students took a leap in faith in trying out after meeting with coach Logan Brown prior to tryouts.
However, under Article 1 Section 14 of the UHSAA rulebook, it states, "the charter, home or private school student may only participate in extracurricular activities at the school within whose boundaries the student's parent(s) or legal guardian(s) resides (neither a power of attorney nor a district or school guardianship will suffice) or at the public school from which the student withdrew for the purpose of home schooling or attending a charter or private school."
But the two students at Logan River Academy which isn't classified as a charter or private school currently don't have parents or legal guardians residing within the Logan High School boundaries, thus creating a situation that the two students, along with the support of their parents, as well as both staffs at Logan River Academy and Logan, appealed the rule to a group of three UHSAA panel members Tuesday morning.
The UHSAA panel eventually denied the request to waive the rule, but permitted the players to continue practicing with the team if the school allows, and will give the two students 20 days to establish a legal guardianship who lives within the Logan High School boundaries in order to play in games.
Logan River Academy does not have an athletics department. In fact, members representing the academy said Tuesday morning that while the two students deserve a chance to play with Logan, the opportunity doesn't come without risking the progression of the students at the academy.
Logan Principal Shane Ogden was in attendance Tuesday along with Grizzlies athletic director Clair Anderson and Logan boys' basketball coach Logan Brown.
Ogden said that initially, the thought of bringing these two students into the fold at Logan was a risk, but after he saw the way they conducted themselves with Brown and the fellow players, the decision to appeal the rule was a no-brainer.
"This is uncharted ground for us as well," Ogden told the panel, "but I think we have the opportunity to not only impact the lives of two young men, but also a school and a community."
When it was his turn to address the panel, Brown became increasingly emotional. He said if this situation has taught him anything, it's that everyone should have the opportunity to be able to prove themselves in life and in sports.
"I just trust these two boys. I'm not going to brand them. They made our team better as people. And our team has made them better," Brown said. "I believe 10 years from now, they'll look back and remember that they learned something."
One student, academically a sophomore, made the sophomore basketball team at Logan, while the other student, academically a junior, made the Grizzly junior varsity team.