In early 2012, Prep Rally covered Jon Kitna's inspiring decision to return to school and serve as a prep football coach. The move was all about giving back to the community and game, which Kitna felt was instrumental in helping him achieve professional success.
Now Kitna's family is paying the price for his own generosity. The West Central District number 3, of which Kitna's new program at Tacoma (Wash.) Lincoln High is a part, determined that Kitna's oldest son, Jordan, is not eligible to compete in any sports for Lincoln during the 2012-13 school year.
Though he is just a freshman, Jordan has already taken after his father, showing signs of a powerful arm that had helped him land the team's starting quarterback slot heading into the start of the season.
As reported in detail by the Tri-City Herald, now Jordan will spend the entire season on the bench, much to his father's chagrin.
"He took [the news] better than me," Jon Kitna told The News Tribune. "It felt like I got punched in my throat."
There are perfectly decent reasons why Jordan Kitna was deemed ineligible. The 14-year-old and his family live in Lakewood, which is not part of the Tacoma public school district. To transfer out of a home district in the state of Washington, athletes are required to sit out an entire year of athletic competition, yet that rule can be appealed.
Because his father was serving as coach, many seemed to assume that district officials would bend the rules to accommodate the Kitnas. They didn't, and now the teen who could be the next great Washington arm — he certainly has the genes, after all — will have to spend his first year of high school football away from the field and his teammates, all while his father leads the team just yards away.
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