WDHS fullback sidelined in court injunction ruling

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

The football career of Justin Hammond is on hold, while his family awaits a written report from a Hamilton judge.

The Waterdown District High School student's family was denied a permanent court injunction, which would have allowed him to play for the Warriors while awaiting a court hearing into his eligibility status. The hearing won't likely take place until after the football season ends, effectively sidelining him for the remainder of the season and the play-offs.

"The matter has been resolved in the courts," said Chris Newman, Hamilton Wentworth District School Board Sports Convener. "The decision of the judge is one we'll respect and live with."

However, the issue may not rest there. Justin's father, Paul Hammond, may launch an appeal, depending on what the judge says in his written statement. He doesn't feel his son received a fair trial, and feels there may have been irregularities in the process and evidence presented by the board.

Hammond feels jaded by the process, as well as the expense and effort the board has put out to defend the recruiting rule. "They've lost sight of the student, in their endeavour to make a statement," he said.

He launched a lawsuit against the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board after they ruled against allowing his son to play on the Warriors based on a recruiting rule designed to prevent coaches from recruiting out-of-catchment athletes, or athletes from choosing a school to maximize their chances of being scouted.

Justin had returned to WDHS after spending a year in Erie Pa, upgrading his marks and playing football in the hopes of being recruited by an NCAA college. Justin made the move because his grades were falling and he lacked focus, said Hammond. His older brother had spent a year stateside, and his parents were so impressed with the improvement in his performance both academically and athletically, that they offered the same path to Justin.

While there, he earned 29.5 credits, which was enough for a high school diploma, but half a credit short of an Ontario diploma. The family had been assured that the half-credit gap would allow Justin a window to return to both school and football if he wasn't recruited in the US.

However, when they applied for the transfer in June, they were informed that Justin had sufficient credits to apply for a Canadian university, which counted as graduation and rendered him ineligible to play football.

"They said it had nothing to do with the number of credits; they look at the graduation from the other school," said Hammond.

The situation was further complicated by the fact that Justin's parents had moved to Burlington, out of the WDHS catchment boundary. However, Justin chose to complete his education at WDHS to be with friends and teachers he knew.

The issue was referred to SOSSA, the Southern Ontario Secondary Schools Association, which approved Justin's ineligibility status. Hammond then appealed the decision to OFSAA, the Ontario Federation of Schools Athletic Association, the highest authority on athletic decisions. OFSAA has yet to review the case, but Paul applied for the court injunction to allow Justin to play while they awaited a hearing. The injunction was granted, then extended, allowing him to play game three and four of the five game regular season, but was denied just one day before game five.

Although he can't play on the team, Justin has been volunteering as a coaching assistant, at the request of coach Larry Timms. Without time on the field, his prospects of earning a scholarship are fading, but the family is still hopeful.

They plan to submit tapes from the two games he did play to the US schools, which showed an interest. The recruiters had wanted to see Justin play in a defensive role. He got that chance during the games, but the footage isn't stellar, admits Hammond.

Although there are avenues into pro football other than college, it's the scholarship Justin was hoping for, said Hammond.

"He wants to use football to get an education," he said.

Justin also plans to apply to Canadian universities out east, which offer athletic scholarships, but Hammond admits that's a secondary choice, due to the superiority of the US college football program.

WDHS fullback sidelined in court injunction ruling

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

The football career of Justin Hammond is on hold, while his family awaits a written report from a Hamilton judge.

The Waterdown District High School student's family was denied a permanent court injunction, which would have allowed him to play for the Warriors while awaiting a court hearing into his eligibility status. The hearing won't likely take place until after the football season ends, effectively sidelining him for the remainder of the season and the play-offs.

"The matter has been resolved in the courts," said Chris Newman, Hamilton Wentworth District School Board Sports Convener. "The decision of the judge is one we'll respect and live with."

However, the issue may not rest there. Justin's father, Paul Hammond, may launch an appeal, depending on what the judge says in his written statement. He doesn't feel his son received a fair trial, and feels there may have been irregularities in the process and evidence presented by the board.

Hammond feels jaded by the process, as well as the expense and effort the board has put out to defend the recruiting rule. "They've lost sight of the student, in their endeavour to make a statement," he said.

He launched a lawsuit against the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board after they ruled against allowing his son to play on the Warriors based on a recruiting rule designed to prevent coaches from recruiting out-of-catchment athletes, or athletes from choosing a school to maximize their chances of being scouted.

Justin had returned to WDHS after spending a year in Erie Pa, upgrading his marks and playing football in the hopes of being recruited by an NCAA college. Justin made the move because his grades were falling and he lacked focus, said Hammond. His older brother had spent a year stateside, and his parents were so impressed with the improvement in his performance both academically and athletically, that they offered the same path to Justin.

While there, he earned 29.5 credits, which was enough for a high school diploma, but half a credit short of an Ontario diploma. The family had been assured that the half-credit gap would allow Justin a window to return to both school and football if he wasn't recruited in the US.

However, when they applied for the transfer in June, they were informed that Justin had sufficient credits to apply for a Canadian university, which counted as graduation and rendered him ineligible to play football.

"They said it had nothing to do with the number of credits; they look at the graduation from the other school," said Hammond.

The situation was further complicated by the fact that Justin's parents had moved to Burlington, out of the WDHS catchment boundary. However, Justin chose to complete his education at WDHS to be with friends and teachers he knew.

The issue was referred to SOSSA, the Southern Ontario Secondary Schools Association, which approved Justin's ineligibility status. Hammond then appealed the decision to OFSAA, the Ontario Federation of Schools Athletic Association, the highest authority on athletic decisions. OFSAA has yet to review the case, but Paul applied for the court injunction to allow Justin to play while they awaited a hearing. The injunction was granted, then extended, allowing him to play game three and four of the five game regular season, but was denied just one day before game five.

Although he can't play on the team, Justin has been volunteering as a coaching assistant, at the request of coach Larry Timms. Without time on the field, his prospects of earning a scholarship are fading, but the family is still hopeful.

They plan to submit tapes from the two games he did play to the US schools, which showed an interest. The recruiters had wanted to see Justin play in a defensive role. He got that chance during the games, but the footage isn't stellar, admits Hammond.

Although there are avenues into pro football other than college, it's the scholarship Justin was hoping for, said Hammond.

"He wants to use football to get an education," he said.

Justin also plans to apply to Canadian universities out east, which offer athletic scholarships, but Hammond admits that's a secondary choice, due to the superiority of the US college football program.

WDHS fullback sidelined in court injunction ruling

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

The football career of Justin Hammond is on hold, while his family awaits a written report from a Hamilton judge.

The Waterdown District High School student's family was denied a permanent court injunction, which would have allowed him to play for the Warriors while awaiting a court hearing into his eligibility status. The hearing won't likely take place until after the football season ends, effectively sidelining him for the remainder of the season and the play-offs.

"The matter has been resolved in the courts," said Chris Newman, Hamilton Wentworth District School Board Sports Convener. "The decision of the judge is one we'll respect and live with."

However, the issue may not rest there. Justin's father, Paul Hammond, may launch an appeal, depending on what the judge says in his written statement. He doesn't feel his son received a fair trial, and feels there may have been irregularities in the process and evidence presented by the board.

Hammond feels jaded by the process, as well as the expense and effort the board has put out to defend the recruiting rule. "They've lost sight of the student, in their endeavour to make a statement," he said.

He launched a lawsuit against the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board after they ruled against allowing his son to play on the Warriors based on a recruiting rule designed to prevent coaches from recruiting out-of-catchment athletes, or athletes from choosing a school to maximize their chances of being scouted.

Justin had returned to WDHS after spending a year in Erie Pa, upgrading his marks and playing football in the hopes of being recruited by an NCAA college. Justin made the move because his grades were falling and he lacked focus, said Hammond. His older brother had spent a year stateside, and his parents were so impressed with the improvement in his performance both academically and athletically, that they offered the same path to Justin.

While there, he earned 29.5 credits, which was enough for a high school diploma, but half a credit short of an Ontario diploma. The family had been assured that the half-credit gap would allow Justin a window to return to both school and football if he wasn't recruited in the US.

However, when they applied for the transfer in June, they were informed that Justin had sufficient credits to apply for a Canadian university, which counted as graduation and rendered him ineligible to play football.

"They said it had nothing to do with the number of credits; they look at the graduation from the other school," said Hammond.

The situation was further complicated by the fact that Justin's parents had moved to Burlington, out of the WDHS catchment boundary. However, Justin chose to complete his education at WDHS to be with friends and teachers he knew.

The issue was referred to SOSSA, the Southern Ontario Secondary Schools Association, which approved Justin's ineligibility status. Hammond then appealed the decision to OFSAA, the Ontario Federation of Schools Athletic Association, the highest authority on athletic decisions. OFSAA has yet to review the case, but Paul applied for the court injunction to allow Justin to play while they awaited a hearing. The injunction was granted, then extended, allowing him to play game three and four of the five game regular season, but was denied just one day before game five.

Although he can't play on the team, Justin has been volunteering as a coaching assistant, at the request of coach Larry Timms. Without time on the field, his prospects of earning a scholarship are fading, but the family is still hopeful.

They plan to submit tapes from the two games he did play to the US schools, which showed an interest. The recruiters had wanted to see Justin play in a defensive role. He got that chance during the games, but the footage isn't stellar, admits Hammond.

Although there are avenues into pro football other than college, it's the scholarship Justin was hoping for, said Hammond.

"He wants to use football to get an education," he said.

Justin also plans to apply to Canadian universities out east, which offer athletic scholarships, but Hammond admits that's a secondary choice, due to the superiority of the US college football program.