Interesting news coming down from the Michigan High School Athletic Association on Thursday. Clarkston High School senior forward Thomas Kithier has been ruled ineligible to play sports for 180 days, which is roughly the remainder of this season.
— Matt Charboneau (@mattcharboneau) December 8, 2017
Kithier is a 3-star prospect, per the 247Sports Composite rankings, who is signed on to play at Michigan State beginning next season. He’s considered a top-10 prep player in the state of Michigan and a top-50 power forward the country.
Kithier’s eligibility for this season has been up in the air since he announced a decision to transfer from Dakota High School in Macomb. The 6-foot-8, 225-pound recruit led the Cougars to a 20-4 season a year ago and reached the regional semifinal round before losing, ironically, to Clarkston.
Deciding to transfer put Kithier in a position to play along side Clarkston point guard Foster Lawyer, another Michigan State signee. The Wolves turned in a 27-1 record overall last season en route to a Class A state championship. Clarkston is coached by Dan Fife, father of Michigan State assistant coach Dane Fife.
Here's the transfer clause the MHSAA is citing in ruling Thomas Kithier ineligible for his entire senior season. pic.twitter.com/cV2GTKN3hv
— Tony Paul (@TonyPaul1984) December 7, 2017
The hold-up was revolved the transfer papers to be signed by Kithier’s former institution, Dakota HS. However, they refused to formally give the green light for him to leave because they ultimately felt he was transferring away to Clarkston solely for athletic purposes.
The Kithier family released a statement regarding the decision, which prohibits Thomas from playing for any school in the state of Michigan this season after his family and Clarkston “exhausted all appeal options through the MHSAA.”
“Our move to Clarkston was a private family decision and one that we did not take lightly,” the family said in a statement. “We watched as our son’s school environment grew increasingly intolerable for him over two years, and we knew that staying at Macomb Dakota High School was not in his best interest. We researched several Michigan schools, and found Clarkston’s outstanding culture and academic curriculum to be a great fit for Thomas’ needs and future goals.
“Thomas is thriving socially and academically at Clarkston High School, but as a lifelong student-athlete, he is heartbroken to be denied the opportunity to participate in sports.
“We followed the rules, and our one and only motivation for transferring to Clarkston was to surround our son with a supportive community that sees him as a multifaceted human being, and not a commodity.”
Barring any more trickle-down effects of this news, Kithier still intends on following the course to play at Michigan State next season.