19 year old wants to play on HS basketball team

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19 year old wants to play on HS basketball team

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/18/eric-dompierre-teen-down-syndrome-basketball_n_1435698.html?&icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl29%7Csec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D153621

Should a special circumstance be considered in this case? Should the age be adjusted for students that were held back? Or should the rule stand?

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I see the need for putting an age limit for sports because of size, weight, etc. I think though maybe this should be revamped to say, any qualifying 4th year senior is eligible to play. That way any child who might have been held back a grade for various reasons would still qualify.

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"elleon17" wrote:

I see the need for putting an age limit for sports because of size, weight, etc. I think though maybe this should be revamped to say, any qualifying 4th year senior is eligible to play. That way any child who might have been held back a grade for various reasons would still qualify.

ITA with this. He should not be penalized for having been held back in Kindergarten. That's just ridiculous. Now if he were a 5th year senior, I'd agree with the penalty, and I wouldn't even put an age on it, either. If you can't pass enough of your academic classes that you need to be in high school another year, you don't deserve to be playing sports.

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I also agree, that being held back in a lower grade should not make you ineligible for sports.

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Ok... am I doing the math wrong? There are many kids (particularly boys) that delay starting Kindergarten one year, yet still would be eligible within most states as they would turn 19 within their Senior year (where other of their peers would be turning 18.)

If he was delayed only one year, he would be:

6 turning 7 for Kindergarten
7 turning 8 for 1st grade
8 turning 9 for 2nd grade
9 turning 10 for 3rd grade
10 turning 11 for 4th grade
11 turning 12 for 5th grade
12 turning 13 for 6th grade
13 turning 14 for 7th grade
14 turning 15 for 8th grade
15 turning 16 for 9th grade
16 turning 17 for 10th grade
17 turning 18 for 11th grade
18 turning 19 for 12th grade

This boy will supposedly be 19 going on 20 during his senior year (12th grade.)

I don't object to a one year extension for those that were held back (or even repeated a year... even in high school.. as long as they met the academic and attendance requirements during the year(s) that they played sports (meaning they had overcome whatever obstacle was in the past. For example, suppose a kid struggled within their freshman year with the move to high school and had to repeat... but from that point forward excelled?)

I do believe though that one year should be the cut-off due to the concerns mentioned. In many sports, Seniors and Freshmen may play / compete on a team. If allowed, it could be a 20 yr old vs. a 14 yr old. While *this* particular student may be ok to compete, unfortunately, there may be other 20-somethings with different disabilities that this could be a bigger issue with.

On a personal level, my heart breaks for the family... and particularly this young man. I just do not know that they can make a blanket "one size fits all" rule that would work for the entire state in all sports.

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No, Missy, your math is correct. His birthday is in January, so he started school at age 6, and turned 7 in January. Then he repeated Kindergarten, so he was 8 years old before leaving Kindergarten. So yes, he's now a junior in high school at age 19.

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Ok, so this young man is actually 2 yrs older than most of his peers then correct? Not one as the article suggests? For example, I have a son with a February birthday. He was approximately 5 and 1/2 starting Kindergarten and will turn 18 in his Senior year.

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I have never heard of high school sports based on ages only what grade you are in. My husband started school late and then repeated a year so when he started his senior year he was 18 and almost 19 (birthday in Dec.) and he played sports. As we see more and more towns having a law as to what age you can start kindergarten~what happens to those kids if they have to repeat a year as well?

I get the idea that they need to base it on age but if one is 19 and not playing with seniors but only qualifying for freshman team..they are probably not that skilled at the game (case in point of a child with disabilities. A 19 year old with Down syndrome is quite different than a 19 year old without know what I mean?)

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"MissyJ" wrote:

Ok... am I doing the math wrong? There are many kids (particularly boys) that delay starting Kindergarten one year, yet still would be eligible within most states as they would turn 19 within their Senior year (where other of their peers would be turning 18.)

If he was delayed only one year, he would be:

6 turning 7 for Kindergarten
7 turning 8 for 1st grade
8 turning 9 for 2nd grade
9 turning 10 for 3rd grade
10 turning 11 for 4th grade
11 turning 12 for 5th grade
12 turning 13 for 6th grade
13 turning 14 for 7th grade
14 turning 15 for 8th grade
15 turning 16 for 9th grade
16 turning 17 for 10th grade
17 turning 18 for 11th grade
18 turning 19 for 12th grade

This boy will supposedly be 19 going on 20 during his senior year (12th grade.)

I don't object to a one year extension for those that were held back (or even repeated a year... even in high school.. as long as they met the academic and attendance requirements during the year(s) that they played sports (meaning they had overcome whatever obstacle was in the past. For example, suppose a kid struggled within their freshman year with the move to high school and had to repeat... but from that point forward excelled?)

I do believe though that one year should be the cut-off due to the concerns mentioned. In many sports, Seniors and Freshmen may play / compete on a team. If allowed, it could be a 20 yr old vs. a 14 yr old. While *this* particular student may be ok to compete, unfortunately, there may be other 20-somethings with different disabilities that this could be a bigger issue with.

On a personal level, my heart breaks for the family... and particularly this young man. I just do not know that they can make a blanket "one size fits all" rule that would work for the entire state in all sports.

"Spacers" wrote:

No, Missy, your math is correct. His birthday is in January, so he started school at age 6, and turned 7 in January. Then he repeated Kindergarten, so he was 8 years old before leaving Kindergarten. So yes, he's now a junior in high school at age 19.

In that case, I'm not sure he should be allowed to play. I need to know more as to why he started a year later than he was eligible based on age.

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"Jessica1980" wrote:

I have never heard of high school sports based on ages only what grade you are in. My husband started school late and then repeated a year so when he started his senior year he was 18 and almost 19 (birthday in Dec.) and he played sports. As we see more and more towns having a law as to what age you can start kindergarten~what happens to those kids if they have to repeat a year as well?

I get the idea that they need to base it on age but if one is 19 and not playing with seniors but only qualifying for freshman team..they are probably not that skilled at the game (case in point of a child with disabilities. A 19 year old with Down syndrome is quite different than a 19 year old without know what I mean?)

If I am understanding correctly, your husband would have been fine since he would have turned 19 after the September 1 cutoff. In the case of the OP, the young man will turn be 19 before the cutoff because he will actually turn 20 the following January.

With kindergarten cutoffs, it doesn't matter if they repeat a grade. The only way this young man will be 20 during his senior year, is if he started late AND repeated a grade.

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"ethanwinfield" wrote:

The only way this young man will be 20 during his senior year, is if he started late AND repeated a grade.

I am not sure that is all that unusual. I was 19 when I graduated and not the oldest in my class by any means. My husband works with a special needs student who is 18 in 10th grade.

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Exactly. My husband turned 20 late in the year that he graduated. It's not that unusual. Some kids start late even if they make the cutoff for birthdays and may have to stay back as well. Why should they be penalized from playing because they had delays or were late developers?

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Maybe for kids with disabilities. In general, no, it's not fair to opposiing teams to have older players allowed.j

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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

I am not sure that is all that unusual. I was 19 when I graduated and not the oldest in my class by any means. My husband works with a special needs student who is 18 in 10th grade.

I guess it's unusual to me because of the number of students I've worked with who turn 15 by September of their 8th grade year. In 13 years, it's few enough I could probably name all of them. Not just my own students, but those in the entire 8th grade. Yes, it's more common for those with disabilities.

It must be rare enough that other states have rules involving eligibility requirements with a Sept. cut-off date yet this is the first time I've heard about. When we're talking about HS sports, it is possible to have sophomores and seniors on the same varsity teams. So some players might be as young as 14 during the entire football season. That's over a 5-year age gap. You wouldn't allow a 15 yo to play on a team with 10 yos. If you don't think 14 and 19 is that big of a physical difference as to let them be on the same team, look up average height and weight for both ages.

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I don't think he should be allowed to play. He is two years older than most of the kids in that grade. That is a lot size-wise when you're talking about high school students.

I don't get all these different age cut off rules. Here it is all the same. To start kindergarten, you need to be 5 by Dec 31 - so yes, many are only 4 when they start. Parents can hold their child back if they like.

I was 17 when I graduated, as were many of my classmates. You are supposed to graduate the year you turn 18. A handful of people were turning 19. No one was anywhere near 20.

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"ethanwinfield" wrote:

I guess it's unusual to me because of the number of students I've worked with who turn 15 by September of their 8th grade year. In 13 years, it's few enough I could probably name all of them. Not just my own students, but those in the entire 8th grade. Yes, it's more common for those with disabilities.

It must be rare enough that other states have rules involving eligibility requirements with a Sept. cut-off date yet this is the first time I've heard about. When we're talking about HS sports, it is possible to have sophomores and seniors on the same varsity teams. So some players might be as young as 14 during the entire football season. That's over a 5-year age gap. You wouldn't allow a 15 yo to play on a team with 10 yos. If you don't think 14 and 19 is that big of a physical difference as to let them be on the same team, look up average height and weight for both ages.

I agree with this.

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"Spacers" wrote:

If you can't pass enough of your academic classes that you need to be in high school another year, you don't deserve to be playing sports.

Totally agree with this. Age doesn't really matter to me.

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But they aren't saying they aren't passing their high school courses. It's purely by age. As I said, many kids are already older than the "norm" when they hit high school for a variety of ages.

When I was a kid all people from the same birth year started at the same time. Now you have to be 5 by 8/31. So someone with a 9/1 birthday wouldn't start kindergarten until the following year when they were 6.

My high school didn't have the age thing either. Most juniors/seniors were varsity but some younger students were as well and some older students were still J/V. The only separated team was freshman football. That is clearly only freshman.

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"Jessica1980" wrote:

But they aren't saying they aren't passing their high school courses. It's purely by age. As I said, many kids are already older than the "norm" when they hit high school for a variety of ages.

When I was a kid all people from the same birth year started at the same time. Now you have to be 5 by 8/31. So someone with a 9/1 birthday wouldn't start kindergarten until the following year when they were 6.

My high school didn't have the age thing either. Most juniors/seniors were varsity but some younger students were as well and some older students were still J/V. The only separated team was freshman football. That is clearly only freshman.

I looked up MI's cut off date for kindergarten and it is 12/1.

Thus, if you were born on 12/2/2000, you would start kindergarten in 2006. 5 years 9 months; turning 6 three months later.
2007 = 1st grade 6 Y 9 M; turning 7
2008 = 2nd grade 7 Y 9 M; turning 8
2009 = 3rd grade 8 Y 9 M; turning 9
2010 = 4th grade 9 Y 9 M; turning 10
2011 = 5th grade 10 Y 9 M; turning 11
2012 = 6th grade 11 Y 9 M; turning 12
2013 = 7th grade 12 Y 9 M; turning 13
2014 = 8th grade 13 Y 9 M; turning 14
2015 = 9th grade 14 Y 9 M; turning 15
2016 = 10th grade 15 Y 9 M; turning 16
2017 = 11th grade 16 Y 9 M; turning 17
2018 = 12th grade 17 Y 9 M; turning 18

so you would be 18 Y 5 or 6 months upon graduation. If your birthday was 12/1/2000, you would graduate at 17 Y 5 or 6 months.

Since the kindergarten cut off for MI is 12/1. The cut off to play is 19 by 9/1. Anyone who turned 19 before 9/1 didn't start the year they could have started or was held back twice.

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I would agree that it's rare to have a 20 y/o in high school. Our schools don't even allow past 19, instead referring those that don't graduate by then to go to alternative education or get their GED. If it weren't unusual, the assistance programs would also allow them to be considered a minor until they graduate. Instead, they are considered an adult at age 18 unless there is verification that they will graduate before they turn 19. These are federal rules for cash, food support, and medical assistance. In this instance, I would say that he should not be eligible to compete at high school level for sports as it is appropriate that the school has aged him out.

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I was 17 when I graduated (only by a few days, my birthday is in June). The concept of a 20 year old in high school is really foreign to me, but with all of the redshirting going on it will likely become more common.

I support the states right to make whatever rules work for them and their particular constituents. Most of college sports (though not all) have no rules surrounding age, simply eligibility (4 years). BYU athletes always are older due to their mission. It does seem strange to me that they might not have an exception for disabilities, but honestly, as this case shows, it happens so rarely that it hasn't ever been an issue before. I guess I just can't find it in me to get worked up one way or the other, as at the end of the day this actually effects such a tiny, TINY percentage of eligible athletes. I do feel badly for this particular boy/man and do hope that they grant him an exception so that he can play.

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"Beertje" wrote:

I would agree that it's rare to have a 20 y/o in high school. Our schools don't even allow past 19, instead referring those that don't graduate by then to go to alternative education or get their GED. If it weren't unusual, the assistance programs would also allow them to be considered a minor until they graduate. Instead, they are considered an adult at age 18 unless there is verification that they will graduate before they turn 19. These are federal rules for cash, food support, and medical assistance. In this instance, I would say that he should not be eligible to compete at high school level for sports as it is appropriate that the school has aged him out.

Since he has Down syndrome, he probably has an IEP which is why the district hasn't aged him out and is why he's still at the regular high school. Another 19-year-old probably would be aged out of a regular high school. And that fact kind of makes my point, this is punishing him for having a disability, and that's not OK. If he is otherwise properly enrolled at this school, and is otherwise eligible to play on the team (decent grades, etc.) then his age shouldn't be a factor because he's been continuing his education at the appropriate rate per his IEP.

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"Spacers" wrote:

Since he has Down syndrome, he probably has an IEP which is why the district hasn't aged him out and is why he's still at the regular high school. Another 19-year-old probably would be aged out of a regular high school. And that fact kind of makes my point, this is punishing him for having a disability, and that's not OK. If he is otherwise properly enrolled at this school, and is otherwise eligible to play on the team (decent grades, etc.) then his age shouldn't be a factor because he's been continuing his education at the appropriate rate per his IEP.

It isn't just about him. He is playing on a team against other schools with other students. Having eligibility rules isn't about punishing him; it's about fairness for teams across the state.

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"ethanwinfield" wrote:

It isn't just about him. He is playing on a team against other schools with other students. Having eligibility rules isn't about punishing him; it's about fairness for teams across the state.

So is there a rule that no one above six feet tall can play on a high school basketball team? Or that no one over 200 pounds can play defensive tackle on the varsity football team? No, there isn't and there shouldn't be. The whole reason why most schools have both JV and varsity teams is *because* kids get bigger & stronger as they get older. Having two teams is what minimizes the difference between a 14yo freshman and a 19-year-old senior. I don't think the average 17-or even 18-year-old senior is going to be that significantly smaller or less strong than this man/boy who will happen to be 20 years old at the end of the school year.

I just now remembered this.... When I was a senior in high school, a sophomore got onto the varsity football team. Lots of people were outraged about it because he wasn't a senior or even a junior, but that kid was huge & strong, and he passed the tryout tests so they let him on the team. And thinking back on it now, as a parent, I'd have probably been very scared if that kid had shown up on a JV team playing against my normal-sized kid.

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"Spacers" wrote:

So is there a rule that no one above six feet tall can play on a high school basketball team? Or that no one over 200 pounds can play defensive tackle on the varsity football team? No, there isn't and there shouldn't be. The whole reason why most schools have both JV and varsity teams is *because* kids get bigger & stronger as they get older. Having two teams is what minimizes the difference between a 14yo freshman and a 19-year-old senior. I don't think the average 17-or even 18-year-old senior is going to be that significantly smaller or less strong than this man/boy who will happen to be 20 years old at the end of the school year.

No, it's based on age. That's how it is with DD2's soccer, DD1's learner's permit, and many of the other extras we've looked into for the girls. We had freshmen, JV, and varsity teams. Only freshmen could play on that team, but everyone (including freshmen) were able to try out for varsity. If you were a second-year freshmen you couldn't play on the freshmen team. There is a huge difference between 15 and 20 when it comes to muscle mass, height, weight, etc. There is also a big difference between 18 and 21 so you have to draw the line somewhere.

I just now remembered this.... When I was a senior in high school, a sophomore got onto the varsity football team. Lots of people were outraged about it because he wasn't a senior or even a junior, but that kid was huge & strong, and he passed the tryout tests so they let him on the team. And thinking back on it now, as a parent, I'd have probably been very scared if that kid had shown up on a JV team playing against my normal-sized kid.

We had lots of sophomores on our varsity team. I guess no one really cared.

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"ethanwinfield" wrote:

No, it's based on age. That's how it is with DD2's soccer, DD1's learner's permit, and many of the other extras we've looked into for the girls.

The age for a learner's permit is set by law, it's not a school or district decision, so I'm not sure why you mention it here. Our school district doesn't run a soccer league, but they do run basketball. If Tiven were playing on our school's basketball team in district play, it would be based on her grade level, not her age. Soccer in our area is an extra-curricular league and the levels are based on age. Some of the private schools belong to a separate district that runs a grade-based soccer league; those schools have to switch players around to be able to play in the local age-based soccer league. This is a school team playing in a district league, and eligibility should be based on whether the person in question is properly enrolled at the school, not on how old he is. If he is "too old" for school, then the district should have him removed from that school altogether, and then there would be no question about whether he could play on the school team or not.

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"Spacers" wrote:

The age for a learner's permit is set by law, it's not a school or district decision, so I'm not sure why you mention it here.

It's not a school or district decision this case. It is the Michigan High School Athletic Association which the district joined voluntarily. Their regulations have been upheld in court.

http://stoloff-law.com/blog/disability-age-waiversand-school-tournaments/

According to the FAQ on the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) website:

To participate in MHSAA tournament sponsored sports a student must be under 19 years of age except that a student who turns 19 on or after Sept. 1 of a current school year is eligible for the balance of that school year.

According to the MHSAA’s History, Rationale, and Application of the Regulations of HS Athletics in Michigan:

the age limitation cannot be waived, regardless of how few days or hours a student exceeds the limit or the circumstances which delay the student’s start of progress through school. . . . [The rule] treats all students equally regardless of race, creed, origin, gender, giftedness, or disability. . . . (p. 15)

The document goes on to state:

Throughout society, absolute age standards are accepted. Sometimes they are minimums (16 to drive, 18 to vote, 21 to drink alcohol). Sometimes the age standards are maximums. . . .

The age limitation has many purposes, among which are that it helps to create equal conditions by limiting competition to participants of approximately the same age, size and maturity. . . . (p. 15)

The document noted that the Michigan Department of Civil Rights upheld the MHSAA’s age rule even to handicapped students (cases cited on p. 16).

Our school district doesn't run a soccer league, but they do run basketball. If Tiven were playing on our school's basketball team in district play, it would be based on her grade level, not her age. Soccer in our area is an extra-curricular league and the levels are based on age. Some of the private schools belong to a separate district that runs a grade-based soccer league; those schools have to switch players around to be able to play in the local age-based soccer league. This is a school team playing in a district league, and eligibility should be based on whether the person in question is properly enrolled at the school, not on how old he is. If he is "too old" for school, then the district should have him removed from that school altogether, and then there would be no question about whether he could play on the school team or not.

There's a difference between "too old" for school and participating in sports.

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"Spacers" wrote:

I just now remembered this.... When I was a senior in high school, a sophomore got onto the varsity football team. Lots of people were outraged about it because he wasn't a senior or even a junior, but that kid was huge & strong, and he passed the tryout tests so they let him on the team. And thinking back on it now, as a parent, I'd have probably been very scared if that kid had shown up on a JV team playing against my normal-sized kid.

There is a huge difference between playing up an age level because you're exceptionally good, vs playing down a level, what is essentially what this person is doing.

I went to a small school, younger students played on the older teams all the time (in order to have enough players to form a team), but never were older students allowed to play on the younger teams.

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I just have never heard of an age limit. If you were a student at the school in good academic standing you could play sports.

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When I was in HS, 'Junior' meant (as far as sports went) 9th or 10th grade, BUT if you were in grade 11 but were still Junior age at the grade 11 cutoff for age (I think it was mid-September) you could still play Junior even though being in grade 11 meant you were entitled to play Senior. I went through that in gr 11 with soccer. I was still Junior age b/c my birthday is in Nov. but I was entitled to play Senior. The Jr. coach had a hate on for me for the rest of highschool b/c I opted for Sr. soccer in the 11th grade. I think that if you have that option, based on the cutoff, that that option should be available to older students too. It's a double standard, IMO.

eta - of course, when I was in highschool in Ontario we had to do 5 years if we wanted to go to university. The 5th year was called OAC (Ontario Academic Credit), so lots of kids in my year were 19 well before the end of school. I didn't turn 19 until the following fall once I was in university and the drinking age was 19. I missed out on a LOT of frosh week partying simply because I was underage for a few weeks. Boo.... Wink

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"Jessica1980" wrote:

I just have never heard of an age limit. If you were a student at the school in good academic standing you could play sports.

MA has it now:

http://www.miaa.net/gen/miaa_generated_bin/documents/basic_module/MIAAHandbook1113.pdf

60. Student Eligibility: Age
A student shall be under 19 years of age, but may compete during the remainder of the school year, provided that his/her 19th birthday occurs on or after September 1 of that year. For Freshman competition only, a student shall be under 16 years of age but may compete during the remainder of the school year provided that the sixteenth birthday occurs on or after September 1 of that year. Principals must exercise great care in determining age of contestants, and in all doubtful cases, must secure birth certificates from the town clerk of the pupil’s place of birth.

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Good to know. I still don't agree with it. Especially when it comes to special education students.

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The article says he was held back in kindergarten AND 1st grade. I am very surprised a student with an IEP would be held back not once, but twice.

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Update

The Michigan High School Athletic Association on Thursday approved a waiver provision that gives a student athlete with Down syndrome a chance to continue participating in sports despite being 19 years old.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/31/us/michigan-down-syndrome-athlete/index.html?hpt=hp_bn1

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From the article:

"Under the new waiver rule, a student 'must have a defined disability documented to diminish both physical and either intellectual or emotional capabilities, does not create a health or safety risk to participants, and does not create a competitive advantage for the team. The burden of proof rests with the school seeking the waiver,' the association said in a statement."

I think that's a very well-worded definition of who would be eligible for such a waiver. One thing that struck me is that the proposal had to pass with 2/3 majority of votes cast. Less than half the schools voted (701 of 1500+ schools) but those that did vote approved the proposal by 94%. Do you think the other schools were opposed to it but didn't want to go on record, or did they just not really care enough to bother placing a vote?