Scott County

KHSAA: Euton ineligible

Basketball star Dakotah Euton, who transferred from Rose Hill Christian in Ashland to Scott County last month, has been ruled ineligible by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association for the upcoming basketball season.

Chad Jackson, Euton's teammate at Rose Hill who also transferred to Scott County, was ruled eligible by the KHSAA.

Scott County received letters from the KHSAA on Tuesday informing the school of the rulings.

“The letters were identical, except one said that Chad met the requirements of Bylaw 6, and the other said Dakotah hadn't met the requirements of Bylaw 6,” Scott County Coach Billy Hicks said.

In the KHSAA handbook, which includes the organization's rules and regulations, Bylaw 6 deals with transfers and covers three pages.

Euton, who has committed to the University of Kentucky, is a 6-foot-8 junior-to-be.

Clay Euton, Dakotah's father, said he was “dumbfounded” by the KHSAA ruling, and that he will “appeal it immediately.

“We still anticipate Dakotah playing (at Scott County). We've got to go through the process.”

Clay Euton worked for Woolpert, Inc., until it closed its Ashland office. He has since taken a job with CMTA Engineering in Lexington.

He said he sold his house in Ashland, bought another one in Georgetown and that the family has relocated. That constitutes a bona fide change of residence required under KHSAA eligibility rules.

But Clay Euton thinks that some of the things he said in interviews with media outlets, including the Herald-Leader, may be the reason the ­KHSAA ruled his son ineligible.

Bylaw 6-16 states that students cannot transfer for “athletic advantage,” which includes “seeking a superior athletic team.”

In a Herald-Leader story published on March 19, 2008, Clay Euton talked about Scott County's schedule, facilities, and its status as a state contender.

“I guess I opened my mouth when I should've kept it shut,” he said. “But I can't believe they'd rule Dakotah ineligible because of that.

“It's crazy. I had to switch jobs, sold one house, and bought another.”

Clay Euton said he tried unsuccessfully to reach KHSAA commissioner Brigid DeVries on Tuesday.

Dakotah Euton and Jackson, also a junior-to-be, are playing summer basketball with Scott County, which is in the state AAU tournament in Lexington later this week.

Scott County has another junior transfer — Austin Flannery from Boone County — whose eligibility has yet to be determined.

The transfer rule states that any student who played in “any varsity game in any sport at any school” after entering the ninth grade and who transfers, is ineligible to play any sport at any level for one year.

Exceptions are made for students who move with their families before enrolling at the new school, students whose parent has died or whose parents have divorced, and students ordered to move in child protection cases.

Scott County assistant principal and acting athletic director Joe Pat Covington said that officials at Rose Hill felt that Euton's transfer was legitimate.

Officials at the KHSAA could not be reached for comment late Tuesday afternoon.

The ruling comes at a time when the KHSAA is under scrutiny for its eligibility rulings by the Kentucky Board of Education and the legislature's Administrative Regulation Review Subcommittee.

The ARRS, which approves all agency regulations, has demanded that the KHSAA change some of its controversial rules.

For the year ending May 30, 2007, 257 student athletes who transferred in Kentucky were ruled ineligible by the KHSAA. One-hundred eleven of them appealed. Sixty three lost.

Currently, DeVries makes the initial determination.

Student athletes who appeal her decision have their cases heard by one of two hearing officers, former Fayette Circuit Judge John Adams or former Jefferson Circuit Judge Edmund Pete Karem.

The hearing officer's recommendation is then considered by the KHSAA's 18-member Board of Control. That panel consists largely of high school athletic directors and principals.

The Kentucky Board of Education this month agreed to take the Board of Control out of the appeals process in response to concerns that the board of control's decisions took too long.

Under the new proposal, an assistant to DeVries would make the initial ruling.

Appeals would go to the hearing officer, and DeVries would make the final ruling. The legislative committee will review that change in early July.

Covington said he would attend Euton's appeal hearing and give KHSAA officials the evidence that Scott County was given, showing that Euton was making a legitimate move.

“We want to support our students,” said Covington, “We don't want to be in an adversarial position with the KHSAA.”

Schools that allow ineligible athletes to play are subject to fines, suspension of coaches and forfeitures of games.