Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 6, 2000

Williams not eligible as Lady Vike

Shalonda Williams, who transferred to Warren Central from Vicksburg High this school year, will not be eligible to play at WC this season, the Mississippi High School Activities Association ruled Wednesday.

Williams, a 5-foot-6 guard who averaged 10 points and 3.6 assists to earn All-County honors as a freshman at VHS, has been working out with the Lady Vikes during the school’s athletic period since school began. She moved from her mother’s house, which is in the VHS district, to her father’s, in the WC district, over the summer.

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“You can’t just move from one parent to another and still be eligible,” MHSAA executive director Ennis Proctor said Thursday. “She has to sit out for a year if she wants to play at Warren Central or go back to Vicksburg.”

Williams couldn’t be reached for comment. Her mother, Carolyn, who starred on WC’s 1986 state championship team, said Thursday night that her daughter had not made a decision.

“We’ll probably decide sometime next week,” she said.

WC returns all five of its starters from last season’s 14-15 squad. Williams was the centerpiece of a young VHS team that finished 7-25.

MHSAA rules state, in part, that … “if the parents have separated through no legal proceeding and physical custody has not been granted by a court to either parent, the pupil may choose the parent with whom he wishes to live, and be considered eligible where that parent lives. If a pupil under the above conditions transfers from one parent to the other and the parents live in different school areas, the pupil must remain out of competition for one year before becoming eligible.”

Williams’ parents were never married, but that wouldn’t have made a difference in the MHSAA guidelines, which also say: if “the parents of a pupil are legally separated or divorced by court order … he/she is eligible in the school area where the parent with whom the pupil first elects to live …”

A complaint has to be made for the MHSAA to become involved with a transfer.

“We usually find out, especially if it’s a high-profile player,” Proctor said. “We’ll hear about it.

“Several parents” called about Williams, he said.

Proctor said that the school the athlete transfers to should contact the school she’s transferring from to help prevent misunderstandings.

He said Williams could practice with the Lady Vikes, but she’s not eligible even for the J.V. team because she played varsity as a freshman.

WC coach Donny Fuller wouldn’t comment on the case.

Vicksburg Warren athletic director Lum Wright Jr. said, “We’re going to correct it on our end.”