The GHSA Needs A Proper Ruling On McIntosh Transfer

***UPDATED 5:23 PM, 11/19/15***

Class 5A No. 2 McIntosh tipped-off its season with a ho-hum 89-68 win over Morrow on Tuesday night. The usual suspects did their normal damage with Will Washington scoring 20 points and dishing out eight assists, Jordan Lyons scoring 24 points and Dishon Lowery and Chase Walter doing their expected yeoman’s work inside.

One new Chief however was unable to suit up. Make that, not allowed.

Isaac Kellum, a 6-foot-4 swingman that averaged 13.8 points per game, transferred over to McIntosh in the offseason for his senior season. This wasn’t a crazy out-of-state transfer or someone moving in from a school that is hours away, but a 13-minute transfer over from Fayette County High School. With over 60 known transfers and plenty of more that slipped through the cracks, you would think a simple move such as this would go unopposed, but for some reason the GHSA threw a red flag against little old McIntosh.

From all accounts, Kellum is a great student in the classroom (3.8 weighted GPA, ACT 24, SAT 1,580 and dual enrolled at Clayton State) and a good kid. So why out of all the transfers along the state, is one of the most logical transfers getting the kibosh? As of this week, the senior is still ineligible to play his final year of high school ball while seemingly every other transfer has already begun playing with their new team.

In July, Kellum and his parents moved to Peachtree City. Soon after moving, a rough patch occurred and his parents separated. Isaac, living in the McIntosh school district with his mother, was still set to play basketball until October 27 when he found out he would be ineligible. The family went to a hardship hearing in Thomaston, Ga. but was denied for some reason.

To make sure they had all the proper paperwork again, the parents even went to get official legal separation documents to soothe the GHSA if they had any inclination that something amiss was taking place. Charles Kellum, Isaac’s father, let me know that the family sat in the courthouse for six hours hoping to get the paperwork signed and have the issue eventually resolved. Upon the judge hearing the reasoning why they were there, to let their son play basketball, the judge said he had never heard of a governing body making a family go to such extreme lengths just to prove he is living in the district and has the correct custody.

When the verdict came down, the judge said he could not sign the document because Isaac is an 18-year-old adult and he can’t be signed over to a specific parent.

So the GHSA is now not letting an 18-year-old adult play basketball his senior year of high school  in the correct school district after dealing with a whirlwind of unfortunate events. The GHSA denied him on the initial hardship hearing and the appeal last Tuesday and will not give the Kellum’s a straight answer to why he can’t play, not listing a violation of the by-laws or any other potential hangup.

Double Standards

I personally am not a huge fan of transfers, but I understand it is part of the game and it is not something I bemoan. Building super teams is good for the players to get exposure but of course bad for homegrown teams that have played together their entire life – like McIntosh. The Chiefs had a player fill out all the proper paperwork, but the GHSA won’t accept the simple move.

We can’t have double standards. If you are going to let almost every other school land their new move-ins, and ones that come from out of state, where is the reasoning behind a player who is 13 minutes away from his new school not getting the green light to play ball? And the worst thing about all this? It’s not that McIntosh has a realistic shot at a state title, but it’s the fact that basketball is being taken away from this 17/18 year-old, in his final season. Kellum will likely be able to find a home to play basketball at in college if he so chooses, but nothing will ever compare to going to school with your peers and lacing them up and playing in front of packed houses every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday as the team – or family – attempts to make their march to Macon and history.

What To Do?

Basketball fans and supporters of fair play can only hope that this issue gets resolved quickly and Kellum is cleared to play. There is too much player movement to single out one athlete and blow the whistle on them. It is either abolish transferring (too hard to do) or let everyone make the move as long as the proper paperwork is submitted. Right now, Kellum is devastated over the ruling and he, his family, friends and teammates are still trying to find an answer from the GHSA as to why he is unable to play.

We are in 2015, closing in on 2016. There is no place for a governing body to pick and choose who gets to play and who doesn’t. There needs to be one set guideline. There should be no foul play involved and everything should be on the up-and-up. No ‘Wizard of Oz’ act hiding behind the curtain and not answering why some players are allowed while others disallowed. Let’s hope for a New Year’s Resolution, the GHSA gets its act together and allows Kellum and every other properly filed transfer who got rejected a chance to play the game they love.

9 thoughts on “The GHSA Needs A Proper Ruling On McIntosh Transfer”

  1. Great article…very well written! My gut instinct tells me that there’s something “fishy” going on here…as everyone agrees that this action taken by the GHSA makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. I would challenge someone to look deeper into any current or past relationships between Fayette County coaches and GHSA officials. Perhaps there’s a “10,000 lb gorilla” out there that no one wants to address that’s causing some to behave unethically!!!

    1. Seems like a jilted coach with an ego has made it his mission to ruin a fine young mans life. Can the GHSA please provide an explanation on why this situation has not been rectified? Why is Isaac Kellum be singled out here as many legendary schools like Miller Grove and Wheeler continue to bring massive transfers in every year. Really a pity this great kid is being denied a chance to shine.

  2. Ephesians 6:12.
    For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
    I want to start by saying that our decision to transfer Isaac to McIntosh was based on academics. Academics has always come first with him. We wanted him to be at one of the highest rated academically challenging schools during his senior year to be better prepared for college, and McIntosh speaks for itself. Given that, my son still should not be denied the right to participate in sports. Especially without an explanation of denial. All we want to know is WHY! What is the reason? We submitted everything GHSA asked of us. We put all our “personal” business out there in an effort to comply with their requests. As a mother I feel terrible for my son. At age 18 it’s so many things he don’t understand. So much peer pressure, so many reason to be angry and negative about life unjust situations. Isaac has been raised as a Christian. He’s prayed faithfully (I’ve watched him) only to be denied twice. All of us know what it feels like when you pray so hard for something and your prayers seemingly are not answered. It’s a hurting thing. I just don’t want him to lose FAITH and give up on God. This is the time he must be STRONG and hold on to his FAITH. This is only a test. I always tell him “It’s not the situation-It’s how you handle it” and he has to handle this like a man. Maintaining his GPA and keeping his FAITH in God no matter the outcome. Things like this can have a profound effect on a 18 year old. No weapon..
    In that coming day no weapon turned against you will succeed. You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you. These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the LORD; their vindication will come from me. I, the LORD, have spoken! Isaiah 54:17
    Thanks to everyone for all the love and support of Isaac. It is appreciated.

  3. Isaac, hang in there and know that without a doubt, What GOD has for you, can’t anyone take it away from you. I’m speaking from experience and pure conviction.

    Be Blessed my brother………..

  4. We just want to know why at this point. Tell us what rule or by-law we violated and we will deal with our son’s pain and move on. Why have a hardship hearing and not provide us with a hardship reason? Why grant an appeal hearing but not explain what we are appealing? If Isaac doesn’t deserve a hardship then tell us why, if a kid with the type of grades, behavior and future he has exhibited for 18 years doesn’t deserve a break then who? His mom and I are ok with a valid reason why, we have nothing to hide and can speak to any issue presented to us by the GHSA regarding a denial. We’ve been more than cooperative and have provided everything that we thought they needed. We are taking the high road, I don’t want to believe that there is something more sinister behind this. I don’t want to believe that there are adults out there that would conspire against a kid and ruin what should be the best time of his life. We would not have purposely done anything to jeopardize his ability to participate in his senior year. We’ve tried to console him and make him understand that life has its challenges and there are things that will happen that are completely out of your control. It’s not what happens, it’s how you handle and deal with life’s challenges, there is a powerful lesson in this for Isaac. Pray for my son, he’s a child and had nothing to do with what happened with his parents. We are family, always on one accord when it comes to his well being. We chose to put him in a more wholesome environment, a more well-rounded experience in preparation for college. A place where he would be pushed academically, athletically and more importantly, socially. What parent doesn’t want the very best for their child? Ecclesiastes 3, we wanted this season of his life to be memorable and full. Just tell us why and we can except that and move on. Thanks for the love and support of Isaac, we really appreciate the outpouring of support and well wishes.

  5. GHSA is not just picking on one school. They pick and choose to do what they want to do. Same thing happen to Kovi Tate at Henry County . GHSA denied his hardship case also.
    It’s just strange how GHSA pick and choose who they let transfer.

  6. Gary Phillips (former Principal at FCHS) has his hand in this. Also Gary’s son Bart was a FCHS coach and I am convinced they let all this slip through without a bat of an eye. Fayette County Girls got top talent to transfer in that I know didn’t live in the district. See Brianna banks, Elam Ibiam and Aneesa Watson to name a few. Time to clean up the trash a the GHSA offices!

  7. So the obvious flaw in the GHSA’s argument, an organization by the way that’s more hypocritical and politically-influenced than the corrupt NCAA, is that if he is 18, he can live where he wants. So if the judge can’t sign a separation agreement to place him with a particular parent, ten he can choose to live where he wants as an adult, that being McIntosh’s district.

    Bottom line is that Jody Barrow needs to step up and protect a Fayette County kid getting wronged. The clock is ticking. Every day that Ira by is one less day in the kid’s senior season. Jody, had it been a football player at Glynn Acdemy back in the day, or a basketball player named Kwame when we all lived on the coast, you or the AD would have stepped up and fixed this. Do the same here. GHSA has no legal grounds to stand on by singling a kid out while letting other kids in the same situation get by.

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