Clinton Student Fights For Eligibility To Play Basketball

Wednesday, January 20th 2016, 3:30 pm
By: Aaron Brilbeck

The parents of a 17-year old Clinton High School student say their son isn’t allowed to play basketball this year because he was bullied.

Bryan and Leadell Baca moved their family from Clinton to Ft. Cobb when their son, Briley, expressed an interest in playing college ball. 

“It became a desire for my son to play college basketball and we wanted to put him in a better sports environment.” Bryan Baca said. 

But while it was a better sports environment, Mr. Baca said it was a poor learning environment.  He said his son quickly became the target of bullies. 

“The attacks on him started almost in a couple of weeks as far as the verbal,” Mr. Baca said, “Started out psychological in the classroom and in the hallways. And it just kind of escalated.” 

Mrs. Baca said she immediately noticed a difference in her son.

“The changes that we saw basically is we took a very confident young man down there and he started not talking to us, and his head would go down. He wouldn’t look us in the eye anymore.” 

The Baca’s said their son wouldn’t tell them about the bullying because he felt bad about all of the sacrifices they made to get him into Fort Cobb.  But, the Baca’s said the bullying became too much for Briley to handle.

So the family moved back to Clinton, and to the same home they had moved out of.

That's the problem.

They signed a document saying they would not move back to the same house, and now the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association is holding them to that document, ruling that Baca can't play any sports his senior year unless the family moves to another home in Clinton.  The association considers it Dual Residency. 

According to one document, the association says DR, or Dual Residency “Trumps all”. 

“I don’t see where it says dual residency trumps a child’s safety.” Mr. Baca said, “If my son would have committed suicide or he would have done anything outside of his character we wouldn’t be sitting here.

The OSSAA did release a statement saying, “The hardship waiver request due to bullying for varsity eligibility for Briley Baca of Clinton High School was originally denied by the OSSAA staff.  An appeal of the staff’s decision was denied by the OSSAA’s Intermediate Appeals Panel and the subsequent appeal before the OSSAA Board of Directors was denied.  It is our understanding that the family is now gathering additional information to submit for consideration.  When new information is submitted; the staff will give due consideration and re-evaluate the waiver request.”