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Minnehaha Academy football star fighting for eligibility

June 04, 2019 09:20 AM

A star football player at Minnehaha Academy is fighting to be able to play during his senior season.

The Minnesota State High School League declared Craig McDonald ineligible last month.

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The issue has do with the MSHSL bylaw 110, which states that athletes can play no more than 12 consecutive semesters in grades 7-12.

McDonald's parents had him repeat the eighth grade, which means their son would have exhausted his eligibility last year.

RELATED: MSHSL: No shot clock coming to high school basketball, classes added in other sports

On Monday, though, McDonald and his family attended the MSHSL board meeting in hopes that board members might reconsider their decision.

He is considered one of the best high school football players in the state. In 2018, he helped lead the St. Paul Academy-Minnehaha Academy-Blake co-op team (Wolfpack) to the Class 4A championship.  

He's already committed to play college football at Iowa State.

And now he is asking board members to grant him an exemption.

"I think I should be an exception because (bylaw 110) is to prevent people from having an unfair athletic advantage," McDonald said. "But I'm in the correct grade.  

"I don't turn 18 until the end of next football season (October)."

The board did vote to give McDonald's case another look and make a decision on his eligibility at a later date.

McDonald's attorney, Lee Hutton, said his client may have to go to a high school in another state to play his senior year if he's ineligible in Minnesota. 

Other options include playing on the SMB co-op junior varsity team, according to Hutton. 

The MSHSL issued a statement on the matter late Monday:

"The student and his representation addressed the Board of Directors during the public comment portion of the Board Meeting," it read.

"During the Eligibility Committee agenda item, the Board of Directors voted to provide an opportunity for review of his appeal by the Board of Directors Executive Committee. This review will be scheduled by the Executive Committee in conjunction with the family. This is the appropriate process for the Eligibility Committee and the Board of Directors in regards to this situation." 

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Tim Vetscher

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