INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — One of Indiana’s top high school basketball players is back on the hardwood after fighting for his right to play.
Eron Gordon, brother of former IU standout and current NBA player Eric Gordon, is now eligible to play for Cathedral High School.
The junior transferred there last summer expecting to play this season. But in doing so the IHSAA deemed him ineligible for a full year, a ruling his family was determined to change.
In the world of high school hoops, Jeff Rabjohns has his eyes on the best of the best. Rabjohns writes for Peegs.com, a website that focuses on the country’s top prep athletes and the colleges eager to have them.
“I keep up on anything that’s going on around the Midwest with anybody who’s a national level recruit and obviously Eron Gordon’s a top 50 type player,” he declared.
Eron Gordon spent his freshman and sophomore years at North Central High School.
According to court documents, Gordon’s family said they wanted him to transfer schools for academic reasons. But the IHSAA felt it was strictly because of basketball, meaning he’d have to sit out his junior year. Rabjohns said when a player is ineligible it makes it difficult for college coaches to reach them.
“College coaches can’t go watch them because college coaches are only allowed to go watch actual high school activities, that being either a practice or a game. You take those things off the table, basically in recruiting parlance, a player’s gone dark,” he said.
Attorneys Richard Cook and Buddy Yosha represented Gordon’s family as they took the matter to court.
“They felt that their integrity had been called into question,” Cook said.
In the documents, they argued that the athletic director for both schools agreed Gordon should be allowed to play because it was an academic transfer.
“Even more questions come up when you look at the fact that Jordan Walker, teammate of (Gordon) at North Central transfers to Cathedral, there’s no problem there. Eron Gordon transfers, the exact same thing, and then all of a sudden that gets red flagged,” questioned Rabjohns. He added that about 4,000 transfer requests happened in Indiana last year, but only 16 student-athletes were declared ineligible.
“We feel that (Gordon) wasn’t treated similarly to other people in his situation,” said Cook.
Last August, an IHSAA looked into the matter and voted to give Gordon limited eligibility, but his family was fighting for full reinstatement. That’s exactly what Marion County Judge Louis Rosenburg granted last week.
In the court documents, Judge Rosenburg states:
“In conclusion, we are left with the question of what distinguished Eron’s circumstances from the many student athletes whose waiver requests were approved without investigation. That question could have been answered by (IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox) in his initial decision, by the IHSAA State of the Case or at the August 19 hearing before the Review Committee. Such an answer could have assured this Court that Eron was not being singled out as a ‘high profile example’ or for other impermissible reasons. Without such an answer, the action of the IHSAA must be regarded as arbitrary and capricious.”
With that ruling, the star guard can now practice with the team and soon showcase again why he’s one of the best in the U.S.
“It’ll show people that, hey, if you feel the IHSAA has made a wrong decision, it’s OK to fight it and you have a real case, you’ll have a real chance of winning,” said Rabjohns.
Gordon must participate in 10 practices before he can play in a game.
The judge’s ruling is only a preliminary decision. He ordered that the Indiana State Board of Education Case Review panel take another look at Gordon’s situation to look for additional facts.
That means another ruling on the case will occur, but in the meantime Gordon can suit up for Cathedral’s Fighting Irish.
We reached out to the IHSAA about the ruling but they did not want to comment.