Interesting article in the Enquirer. What are your thoughts?
Out of the Congo
Daniel Sumuni is certain of two things: He wants to go to college, and he must play soccer.
He's 19 – or maybe 18, but we'll get to that – and a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo. He has political asylum here, meaning that the U.S. State Department determined that he and his family were in mortal danger there.
He's a Withrow High School sophomore, by credits, but a soon-to-be senior if he passes his Ohio Graduation Tests.
And, according to high school eligibility rules, Daniel is too old to play soccer this season. His birth certificate says he was born Jan. 1, 1996. Daniel's mom says he was actually born around August – she marked Jan. 1 as a placeholder when they entered this country since she couldn't remember the exact date – but she has no way to prove that.
And the Ohio High School Athletic Association rules are clear: The date on the birth certificate is the one they'll use.
So for now, Daniel waits. He goes to after-school tutoring and conditioning with his teammates twice a week, and on Friday, he and his coach, Tyler Barrott, sent a petition to OHSAA, hoping they'll make an exception.
OHSAA has 30 days to respond. If it's a 'No,' Daniel, Barrott and the school's athletic director will appeal. If it's 'No,' again, that's it. Daniel will never again be allowed to play high school soccer.
He'll stay in school and keep working hard, he said, but he won't be "well."
"When I play soccer, I feel good," he said. "I really need to play soccer. ... I can't stay at Withrow and not play soccer."
(Full article here.)