MEMPHIS — Former Memphis Central High forward Jarnell Stokes has enrolled at Southwind High and could be granted a hardship to play this season if his family can prove it would be financially burdened by continuing to pay the $600-a-year optional transfer tuition it paid for three years at Central.
TSSAA executive director Bernard Childress said Friday that the Stokes family will likely pursue a hardship following Stokes' enrollment at Southwind on Thursday. Childress said he talked Thursday to Shelby County Schools spokesman Mike Tebbe, who spoke on behalf of Southwind and Stokes' family.
"Any school can appeal or can apply for a hardship. He's going to be denied on a transfer, and if they want to appeal that denial, then they can submit a hardship and we'll take a look at all the information," Childress said.
"But if you're saying that it's financial, he's going to have to have more than saying the economy's bad. The economy has affected us all. We don't just grant financial hardships. We get them all the time. We require separation notice from employer, W2 forms."
Childress told The Commercial Appeal on Wednesday that Stokes would not be granted a hardship, saying "they don't even need to waste their time sending that in." But that was before he learned Thursday of the tuition fees Stokes' family paid to attend Central.
"Just by having the conversation with them, I think that's the route that they'll go," Childress said. "We haven't received anything because we can't — because he hasn't been in school for three days yet."
Transfer students are allowed to play sports immediately at new schools if they move into the new school's district or are granted a hardship. Since Stokes already lives in the Southwind district, his lone option for immediate eligibility at Southwind is a hardship, according to Childress.