Tahlequah Daily Press

High School Sports

November 9, 2012

Leach now eligible at Sequoyah

Two months after she was ruled ineligible by the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association, Kelsey Leach is again eligible at Sequoyah, according to her mother, Kay Leach.

A press release from Sequoyah Schools confirmed the news late Thursday afternoon.

“We’re just ecstatic the OSSAA cleared Kelsey to play, and we couldn’t be happier with the outcome,” said Marcus Crittenden, athletic director at Sequoyah. “To have this issue cleared up to show she was not in violation is a welcome turn of events during what’s been an extremely difficult period for Kelsey and her family.”

Leach, a junior, will now be allowed to participate in basketball and slowpitch softball this year.

“Glad it’s over,” Kay Leach told the Tahlequah Daily Press via text message on Thursday.

According to the press release from Sequoyah, the now-reversed ruling came on the basis that Kelsey Leach had transferred to Sequoyah and not sat out one year or applied for a hardship waiver in order to play varsity games as a freshman. However, since then, the Leach family had filed proof of residence with the OSSAA, proving their home is in a dependent school district in Adair County. With the proof, a waiver for eligibility was not required.

Because Kelsey Leach was denied a retroactive hardship by the OSSAA at its monthly meeting on Sept. 5, Sequoyah was stripped of its Class 5A slowpitch softball championship that it won in the spring of this year.

The OSSAA, though, has not decided if it will restore Sequoyah’s softball title.

At the OSSAA’s board of directors meeting this week, it was determined that Sequoyah must perform an audit of all of its student athletes and their eligibility. If all the Sequoyah athletes meet the qualifications for eligibility, the OSSAA could return the vacated softball championship, as well as basketball victories that were taken away two months ago.

Amanda Clinton, director of communications at Cherokee Nation, said: “We will wait until the audit is complete to determine a course of action regarding the reinstatement of championships.”

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