PREP SPORTS

Hoggs open up about IHSAA dispute

2011-02-05T22:00:00Z 2014-06-24T17:12:46Z Hoggs open up about IHSAA disputeBy Steve Hanlon steve.hanlon@nwi.com, (219) 933-4198 nwitimes.com
February 05, 2011 10:00 pm  • 

HEBRON | The email arrived. The younger brother opened his first. He was pleased. The smile on his face lit up the home in rural Porter County.

Later, the older sister came home. She, too, scurried and looked at the email account. When she saw the one with her name on it, well, her life dramatically changed.

"I read it over and over and over and over again," Julie Hogg said on Thursday night. "But the letters never changed."

The emails came in December from IHSAA assistant commissioner Phil Gardner. In short, mechanical language, the dispatches said that Jonathon Hogg, a freshman at Boone Grove, would have full athletic eligibility after transferring from Hebron at the end of December.

Julie Hogg, a junior three-sport athlete, would not be eligible to play in any sport for 365 days from the time of the transfer.

Jonathon was ruled eligible according to IHSAA bylaw 19-5, a "bona fide move and change of address."

Julie was ruled ineligible according to IHSAA bylaw 19-4, "the transfer was primarily for athletic reasons."

But the Hoggs' computer is in the same home. Both Jonathon and Julie sat on the same chair when they viewed Gardner's emails.

"I cry every night," Julie said. "I'm happy for my brother because he can play. But since the (Review Committee) hearing, I haven't been able to sleep."

The Hoggs had lived in Hebron for over 15 years. Lyndon Hogg, in 2008, was diagnosed with GIST, gastrointestinal stromal tumors, a rare form of cancer. The father of the children in question and postal worker in Valparaiso was in the fight of his life.

After long and emotional discussions with his wife, Judith, the family decided to sell their 10-acre farm because Lyndon could no longer do the arduous physical work.

Julie would have to give up her horses when the family changed residence. She plans to be a vet for horses later in her life.

Judith Hogg, who has been a nurse for 30 years, is fatigued by the entire process. She is tired of hearing the same question from Julie -- "Why mom?"

But the Review Committee hearing was the most painful of all. Behind closed doors, beyond the ears of anyone except for the IHSAA's judge and jury, the Hoggs had to give out privileged, family information.

In fact, IHSAA attorney Bob Baker even questioned Lyndon's illness, she said.

"I'm still shocked by the decision," Judith said. "For us to have to drive to Indianapolis and divulge private, personal information to a room full of strangers was very, very difficult. And I don't think it mattered at all to them."

As Jonathon put it, "We were guilty until proven innocent."

Lyndon Hogg was also disturbed by the Review Committee hearing, which took place after the commissioner's initial ruling. They noted also that Gardner made that first ruling without ever speaking to Julie. Or Doug Judy, her AAU coach, that Hebron believes used undue influence to convince the Hoggs to move to Boone Grove's district.

The family's Realtor was given a price range and a geographic area that included multiple school districts. In these tough economic times, the home they live in now was the best investment and fit, they said.

And it actually has a Hebron mailing address; it's just located in the Boone school district.

"To tell 23 people all about my medical history, my illness and what I have to deal with, was very difficult," Lyndon said. "To have to tell them why we sold our farm, and when we did it, and why we didn't do it at this time, was also very hard.

"Moving to a new home should be a joyous occasion for us or for any family. But it's been anything but that for us."

Attorney Mike Jasaitis, who is representing the Hoggs, said that the Case Review Panel will meet in the next few weeks and their decision will likely not come back until the end of the month, meaning Julie's basketball season has evaporated.

Lyndon, though, said if they knew how everything would've ended up before hand, nothing would've changed. They would do it again.

"We did not sell a family farm and move for athletic reasons," Lyndon said. "This was a family decision and it was the best situation for us. We'd do it again."

For Julie, the questions at school and at the mall and wherever are also wearing her down. No matter where she goes the questions are there.

"It's like a broken record," Julie said. "I guess this has opened my eyes to the way the world works."

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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