The Louisiana High School Athletic Association reversed field and ruled Central High quarterback Jarrad Hayes eligible Wednesday.
It took the LHSAA’s executive committee less than 10 minutes to reverse Executive Director Kenny Henderson’s original decision during a teleconference appeal that followed a day of hardship hearings at the LHSAA office.
“It’s been a long road, and I’m just glad God brought me through it,” a smiling Hayes said afterwards. “It’s been 76 days. All I’ve been looking forward to is suiting up and playing with my team and now I’ll get a chance to do it.”
Hayes, who transferred from McKinley in January, was initially ruled ineligible by Henderson after Central requested a bonafide move check by the LHSAA nearly three months ago.
Henderson denied one previous appeal, making Wednesday’s executive committee appeal the final avenue for Hayes, a senior, to gain eligibility.
After detailing new information presented by Central, including a letter from McKinley Principal Armond Brown supporting Hayes’ petition for eligibility, Henderson recommended the committee overturn his previous ruling.
“Mr. Brown’s letter was probably the biggest solidifying thing,” Henderson said. “The fact that the sending school principal whole-heartedly supported this made it a lot easier. I think the family made a bonafide move. It took some time, but I think we got it right.”
When Hayes returned to Central after the appeal process, the coaches presented him with a game jersey.
Hayes is expected to get the start when the Wildcats host Istrouma. Hayes’ father, Lionel, is a former Istrouma quarterback.
Hayes is the third notable player to gain eligibility at a local school in recent days. Dutchtown transfer Lindsey Scott was ruled eligible Friday at Zachary and completed a TD pass in the Broncos’ jamboree win over West Feliciana. Scott’s father, also named Lindsey Scott, is a former Baker High and Southern University standout.
Marquise Kaigler, the starting quarterback and a basketball standout at Istrouma a year ago, also was ruled eligible late last week and caught a TD pass for McKinley in its jamboree win over Northeast.
“It’s been a long process, but we appreciate the fact that they (the LHSAA was) so thorough,” Central Principal David Prescott said. “We want to do things right and by the book, so we had to go through the protocol. I have to say the right thing was done today.”