Michigan State basketball commit Thomas Kithier has been ruled ineligible for the entire basketball season over his transfer from Macomb Dakota to Clarkston.
Kithier is in his senior year, and has committed to play for the Spartans next year.
MHSAA sent out a release explaining the decision. It read in part: "The student’s change of residence during the summer of 2017 was on his own – without his parents – to a condominium in Clarkston. This made him ineligible at Clarkston until Jan. 15, 2018, without the completion of an Educational Transfer Form signed by principals from both Clarkston and Dakota High School."
The release also noted that Kithier's former school (Dakota) alleged that the transfer was primarily for athletic reasons and refused to sign the transfer form, arguing that Kithier should be ineligible for the entire season.
The MHSAA says Clarkston did not actively recruit Kithier (which would be against the rules), but Kithier moved into his apartment without completely the proper paperwork.
Clarkston says the school make its final appeal soon.
The full MHSAA release is below:
MEDIA ALERT: In order to bring additional understanding to a recently publicized transfer of a high-profile basketball player between member high schools, the MHSAA is providing the following pertinent facts in understanding the matter of the 12th grader’s transfer to Clarkston High School from Macomb Dakota.
- The student’s change of residence during the summer of 2017 was on his own – without his parents – to a condominium in Clarkston. This made him ineligible at Clarkston until Jan. 15, 2018, without the completion of an Educational Transfer Form signed by principals from both Clarkston and Dakota High School.
- An Educational Transfer Form is required for transfers that meet three exceptions to the MHSAA Transfer Rule: 1. Change of residence by a student between the homes of divorced parents or parents who never married; 2. Change of residence by an 18-year-old who moves without his parents; 3. Change of residence to a boarding school. This basketball player is 18 years old. The Educational Transfer Form requires both school principals to certify that the transfer is “not significantly related to or motivated by athletics.” The student’s previous school did not complete the form.
- The student’s previous school then made a formal allegation that the transfer was primarily for athletic reasons and that the student should be ineligible for a total of 180 scheduled school days under the Athletic Motivated Transfer Regulation.
- Clarkston had opportunities to respond to the Dakota allegation, and did so. The allegation was then confirmed by the MHSAA Executive Director. Clarkston appealed to the MHSAA Executive Committee, which confirmed that the transfer was primarily for athletic reasons.
- In neither Clarkston’s written appeal nor its presentation to the Executive Committee has it been stated that the family has made a full and complete change of residence into the Clarkston school district. The mother’s affidavit of Nov. 13, 2017, attested that she and her husband did not reside in Clarkston with their son, but in Macomb, Mich. Under the Athletic Motivated Transfer Regulation, a full subsequent move by the family would not reduce the 180-day period of ineligibility.
- The MHSAA office found that Clarkston had not partaken in undue influence (recruiting) to secure the transferring athlete. This point was acknowledged by the school itself in writing on Nov. 14. It was reiterated when the MHSAA handed down the Executive Committee decision earlier this week.
- The Athletic Motivated Transfer Regulation has been in effect since 1997.