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Convinced he would have had a competitive advantage over his opponents and his teammates, the Ohio High School Athletic Association will not bend its age rules to let Central Catholic standout linebacker Chris Green play sports his senior season.
The decision, announced in an April 3 letter signed by OHSAA assistant commissioner Roxanne Price, effectively ends the high school athletics career of Green, the 2013 defensive player of the year in the Three Rivers Athletic Conference.
Green’s family and his school fought for an exemption from the age limit, addressing in a letter to the OHSAA the many hardships that contributed to Green missing several days of school and failing the fourth grade.
Green, who enrolled in kindergarten a year late, will turn 19 on June 25 of this year, exceeding OHSAA’s cut-off date for seniors by 36 days.
“We’re incredibly disappointed for Chris, just because we know what it means to this kid,” said Ginger Duhaime, who, with her husband Jeff, are Green’s legal guardians. “I understand rules exist for a reason. We’re not asking for an exception for an unfound reason, in our opinion.”
Green, whose mother is imprisoned for identity theft, has lived with the Duhaimes in Perrysburg since November, 2012.
"You don’t lose your skills not playing for a year, but if you get lazy you can lose a lot," Green said. "I’m definitely gonna get bigger, stronger, and faster for college football."
Green, whom ESPN ranks the third inside linebacker of 2015, is taking steps to graduate in December and to enroll in college for the spring term. The University of Toledo and Bowling Green State University are among 12 schools to offer scholarships to the 6-foot-1, 220-pound Green, whose list of suitors could shrink over the state’s decision.
The state association, in a letter addressed to Central Catholic principal Michael Kaucher, acknowledged Green meets the academic hardship requirements but that his “athletic abilities and experiences” disqualify him from meeting the age exception. Green essentially is handicapped by his own successes. He attained second-team All-Ohio accolades last season, leading the Irish to an undefeated regular season and a berth in the Division III regional final. A year earlier he made a tackle in the end zone for a safety in Central Catholic’s Division II state title win over Trotwood-Madison.
Though just a novice in wrestling, Green won a 220-pound district title this year to advance to the state tournament.
OHSAA’s Price wrote: “Christopher would not only be competing against students/opponents not of his age or stature, but [he] also would be competing against students at Central Catholic High School, or more appropriately, these students would be competing against him.”
Central Catholic football coach Greg Dempsey said he is exploring options to allow Green to practice with the team next fall. Green, according to Dempsey, has not missed a weight training session since learning of the state’s decision two weeks ago.
“I think staying positive about it is the way to go,” Dempsey said. “He’s had a great career here, and he’s gonna have a great career at the next level. That’s what we’re gonna focus on getting him ready for.”