On Tuesday, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association called for a hearing to investigate the eligibility of Wayne Hills varsity football players Hunter and Tyler Hayek. Claims of ineligibility were based on the assertion that the brothers transferred to the Wayne Hills school district in October of last year without registering a suitable change of residence. Evidence to these claims was provided by driver’s licenses showing a previous address in Woodland park, and a voter registration for the boys’ father under the same outdated address.
The Wayne Hills football team was initially banned from postseason play contingent on the findings of the five-hour hearing at NJSIAA headquarters in Robbinsville. The NJSIAA eligibility appeals committee voted five to one in favor of Wayne Hills after hearing evidence from the team’s legal representation, which presented utility bills and a lease showing the appropriate address, as well as several eye-witness accounts of the Hayek family’s home in Wayne Hills.
"The evidence was overwhelming that they are in fact residents,” said Wayne Hills’ attorney Darren Del Sardo. "There wasn't one scintilla of evidence on the other side that would suggest otherwise."
Steve Timko, executive director for the NJSIAA, released a press statement Tuesday evening blaming the Wayne Hills school district for providing the NJSIAA with unreliable information leading to the unnecessary hearing and an unexpected week off for all teams in the conference.
"Beyond the disruption to the family, this situation impacted nine schools and communities and forced the association to divert precious resources away from the playing field,” read the press release. "The NJSIAA was put in a precarious situation and, in the end, everyone suffers."
The Hayek boys are feeling justified in the committee’s decision, and Wayne Hills football coach Wayne Demikoff is relieved to shift the team’s focus back to football.
Tyler Hayek told NJ.com, “We’re back from the dead and back for redemption. We have a chip on our shoulder, and now we have to prove to everyone why we deserved a second chance.”
Wayne Hills (8-1) is back in the playoffs as the number one seed following the committee’s findings, and is now pursuing its ninth overall state championship.