Kyra Lunsford and her brother, Jeffrey, are in basketball Limbo.
The Lunsfords, who transferred from Sacred Heart to Vineland last September, are not permitted to play. At issue are academic transcripts.
Sacred Heart as of yesterday still had not sent the Lunsfords' school records to Vineland. Without them, Vineland athletic director Don Robbins cannot allow Kyra, a junior, and Jeffrey, a sophomore, to play for the varsity and junior varsity teams, respectively.
Robbins said the Lunsfords can practice with the teams; however, until he sees if they are academically eligible, they cannot play.
"I just want to get my education with extra curricular activities like basketball and track," Kyra Lunsford said. "I practice, but I want to get used to playing in real-game situations.
"Hopefully, this will be resolved, soon."
Sacred Heart athletic director Keith Jones declined to comment on the matter. But Bernadette Lunsford, the mother of Kyra, 16, Jeffrey, 15, and Kyle, 17, who is a senior at Sacred Heart, sympathized with the parochial school.
Lunsford, a child care worker, said she owes Sacred Heart about $15,000 in tuition for all three children, and the school has been good about accepting payments in installments. However, she said that if she had allowed the two younger children, who have good grades, to stay there until they graduated, the bill would have doubled.
Tuition at the Vineland school is $7,950 per child per year, according to the school.
"The school has been great to me," Lunsford said. "I just got back to work last August. I was out for a year before that, and I fell behind. But they let the kids stay.
"The bill is being paid on. Until the obligation is met they won't release the transcripts."
Vineland was obligated to accept the Lunsfords because school-age children are entitled to a public school education. Furthermore, the NJSIAA gave the Lunsfords the green light to play immediately, according to Robbins and girls' basketball coach Rick Baruffi.
Neither Robbins nor Bob Baly, assistant director of the NJSIAA, would comment on whether the Lunsfords are hardship cases. However, their situation is a classic economic hardship situation.
In hardship cases, the school accepting the students appeals to the NJSIAA's eligibility appeals committee to allow them to play immediately, which Vineland did.
The Lunsfords still reside in Vineland, which means there was no change of residence, a key factor under ordinary circumstances but not in hardship cases.
"She would be a guaranteed starter," coach Rick Baruffi said of Kyra Lunsford, a guard who played junior varsity for Sacred Heart last year.