In one sense it’s a shame.
Chandler athletic director Dave Shapiro had nearly 50 pages of notes, interviews, testimonials, eyewitness accounts and documentation ready for one of the higher-profile transfer appeal cases in recent years.
Former Valley Christian standout Jordan Morgan had been enrolled at Chandler High for a week and spent the summer working out with the football team, but otherwise had to buy time until the Arizona Interscholastic Association heard the Morgans’ case next week. The AIA’s decision would have determined whether the quarterback/running back/safety/punter would be granted eligibility this fall.
AIA rules stipulate that a student transferring from a private school to a public school within Maricopa County must sit out a year of athletics.
Morgan’s hardship appeal was anything but a cinch — proving extenuating circumstances to supersede transfer and eligibility rules is difficult with the AIA.
Shapiro isn’t afraid to tell parents when they have little or no case, but this one had him confident. He felt everything in question could be cross-referenced. He had plausible answers with documentation.
“We were very, very thorough,” he said.
Now, its destination is the shredder and recycling bin. Former V.C. coach Bill Morgan reversed course and took his family to the White Mountains, where Jordan will play for the legendary Paul Moro at defending 3A champion Lakeside Blue Ridge.
No more need to appeal since they moved out of Maricopa County. No chance to see how he’d stack up against 5A competition (that wouldn’t have been an issue... he’s good enough to already have a scholarship from Cal). And no impact defender and kicker the Wolves needed.
In another sense, it’s an apropo closure to this circus.
The Morgans couldn’t be reached for comment, but their 23rd-hour move looks like it was about money. A couple months after winning a second 2A championship at Valley Christian, Bill Morgan resigned as coach. The internal squabbles between him and a group of parents were too much, and Jordan was getting caught in it. There was jealousy, accusations of favoritism and, consequently, other personal attacks toward the family.
That eventually led to pulling Jordan out of school in mid-semester. He took online classes at home to finish the year, but a Valley Christian bylaw states once a student is no longer attending the school, his/her parents can no longer teach at the school.
That meant Jordan’s mother, Carla, lost her job as a special education teacher at year’s end, and those jobs weren’t available in the Chandler district this fall. The Morgans own property in the White Mountains, and Carla was reportedly close to a teaching job up north.
It’s odd since Moro and Morgan were fierce rivals in the 1990s when Bill coached at Show Low.
Give this to the Morgans: They didn't claim “residency” near St. John’s High School, where Mike Morgan (Bill’s brother and Jordan’s uncle) has won a couple 2A state titles. Or in Apache Junction where they also have family.
Like Blue Ridge, both schools would have made Jordan instantly eligible if they had established residency within those boundaries because they’re outside Maricopa County.
Would the family have won the appeal? Would Jordan’s multi-faceted abilities have made the difference against the likes of Hamilton? Did Bill play favorites with his Pac-10-bound son? Or was he bullied out by overzealous, pouty parents with no help from administration?
More questions we’ll never know, and that makes this a fitting endgame to four months of playing “Guess Again.”