Second Half | Stories Behind the Scores
Undue Hardship
Undue Hardship
Blog: From the Director
Posted Friday, January 20, 2017

When appeals are made to the Executive Committee of the Michigan High School Athletic Association to advance the eligibility of a student for school sports, the argument is often made that application of the rule creates a hardship for a student who is not permitted to participate in competitive school sports.

Across the country when issues like these move beyond the appeals processes of state high school associations to courts of law, judges will sometimes opine that the student will suffer an undue hardship if he or she cannot play for a season, school year or career.

Given what is happening in our world, it always strikes me as absurd that anyone would allege or any court of law would rule that not being able to participate immediately or even at all in school sports is an undue hardship. There is hardship in the world, but sitting out school sports shouldn't appear on a list of hundreds of hardships being endured around the globe.

Consider, as I do regularly in one of my chief activities apart from my daily occupation, the hardships that are being endured by those who are fleeing a growing list of war-torn countries, by those who have been confined to refugee camps for many years, even by those who are fortunate enough to be resettled from those camps to far-away countries with different languages and customs.

These are real hardships that should embarrass those who suggest that sitting out school sports for a single contest or an entire career is a hardship. And the heroes are not those who challenge athletic eligibility rules but those who are being resettled in new nations, accepting work that is beneath their skills and experiences, and raising families who want nothing more than for their families to live in peace and security.

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