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Judge Rules in Favor of KHSAA in Harmon Case
By West Kentucky Star Staff
PADUCAH - US District Judge Thomas Russell of the Western District of Kentucky has ruled in favor of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association in the case of Zion Harmon seeking eligibility to play basketball at Marshall County High School.

The ruling was handed down Friday afternoon.

Harmon's Attorney, William C. Adams, III, told West Kentucky Star that as a result of the ruling, Harmon remains ineligible to play high school basketball at this time.


ORIGINAL STORY:

The attorneys for Zion Harmon and the Kentucky High School Athletic Association met in McCracken County Federal Court Thursday afternoon for an appeal hearing on the eligibility of Harmon.

The key phrase tossed around the courthouse Thursday afternoon was "substantial evidence" as it relates to the Harmon's intentions in moving to Marshall County last summer. The Harmon's attorney, William C. Adams III, stated there was substantial evidence that the move was based on academic reasons, including several mentions by Zion's father, Mike Harmon, of his son wanting to graduate in three years and moving to a school like Marshall County that offered that possibility.

The attorney representing the KHSAA, Jason Ams, stated there was substantial evidence of the Harmon's moving for athletic reasons in an article published in The Paducah Sun over the summer. In the article, Mike Harmon mentioned that he did not want his son to move to a school where a coach was all about himself. Ams highlighted that statement as intent to move to a school on reasons concerning athletics, which would be a violation of KHSAA Rule Bylaw 6 which states that a player can not transfer to another school on the basis of athletics without sitting out a year.

Ams rebutted the Harmon's theory of going to Marshall County so he could graduate in three years with the notion that "dozens of schools" offer that possibility, but a move to Marshall County was more so linked to athletics.

Adams also stated that Harmon is facing irreparable harm from the KHSAA for their ruling, causing him to miss varsity basketball games at Marshall County High School. The KHSAA argued that irreparable harm was not being put on Harmon since he is only being forced to sit for varsity games but can still play in junior varsity games for Marshall County.

Federal Judge Thomas Russell asked KHSAA attorney Jason Ams once again about the substantial evidence that the Harmon's moved to Marshall County for reasons concerning athletics. Ams again mentioned The Paducah Sun article from last summer in which Mike Harmon talked in detail about playing basketball at Marshall County and how the article meets the "whole or in part" basis of the move being because of athletics.

Judge Russell told both sides that his hope was to come to his decision in a week or maybe slightly later.

Published 04:40 PM, Friday Jan. 11, 2019
Updated 09:49 PM, Saturday Jan. 12, 2019

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