Hazed students not allowed to play sports after switching schools

Jonathan Wall

Despite being the victims of a hazing incident at a Mississippi high school, two boys are now paying the price for trying leave for a change of scenery.

The Picayune Memorial baseball team — MaroonTide.com

As the Associated Press first reported, two 15-year-old boys decided transfer from Picayune Memorial (Miss.) High, after they were reportedly punched during high school baseball hazing rituals at the school that sent both boys to the hospital.

Unfortunately, the hazing wasn't just of the physical nature. The boys also suffered "verbal tormenting" that resulted in both sets of parents pulling their children from the school. Based on what transpired with the Picayune Memorial baseball program, the decision to move on was an easy one; no parent in their right mind would let their son or daughter stay in that kind of environment.

But the story doesn't end there. After transferring earlier this year, both boys are now back in the news, after they were denied the opportunity to play sports at their new schools. The reason behind the decision? State rules prevent students from switching districts just to play sports.

While both parents claim the move was made for the safety of their children, the Mississippi High School Athletic Association didn't agree.

Instead of giving both boys a chance to play sports at their new schools, they'll now have to sit on the sidelines after the MHSAA ruled them ineligible.

MHSAA says the students were ineligible because it couldn't determine hardships existed for them to transfer under its guidelines.

The ruling also means that one of the boys will have to sit out the rest of the basketball season at Pearl River Central (Miss.) High, and that his team will have to forfeit 15 games for using an ineligible player during the season.

Say what you want about the MHSAA's decision, but this ruling just doesn't feel right. I can understand punishing the offender in a hazing incident, but the victim? Even though nobody was ever criminally charged, one of the boys reportedly suffered a fractured rib during a 2011 hazing incident. But the injury was never confirmed by a doctor.

Why? Because the bruise was so severe that it kept the doctor from seeing if there really was a fracture. Let's be honest here, there's probably less than a one percent chance that both boys are making this up to transfer for athletic reasons.

Past transfer stories have revolved around kids trying to bolt to play for a better team; this situation, however, has nothing to do with getting a starting spot or winning a state title. It's a shame the MHSAA can't tell the difference between the two.

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