MIDVALE — Two high school football players were denied hardship waivers at a panel hearing at the Utah High School Activities Association on Wednesday morning.
Junior Hanani Aiono transferred from Highland to Skyline this summer, citing depression and a troubling schooling situation in which he was being negatively influenced by some friends. Highland coach Brody Benson and athletic director Katie Eskelson said the move began as an athletic one in their conversations with Aiono to improve his football situation. The board agreed, denying him a hardship waiver request. The defensive lineman will be forced to sit out his junior season.
UHSAA attorney Mark Van Wagoner said the board was sympathetic to Aiono's difficult situation, but that, "if we were to grant every kid who was depressed a transfer, we would have nothing but transfer requests for depressed kids," said Van Wagoner.
Sophomore Treven Aloi was trying to transfer from Cottonwood back to his home-boundary school Murray, citing recruiting as the only reason he ended up at Cottonwood in the first place. The family said travel between the schools had become an issue as well. The board, however, didn't feel either reason was worthy of a hardship waiver.
Aloi's attorney said Treven was introduced to Cottonwood's coaches prior to his freshman year by the parent of a former player, and said if he had any aspirations of playing college football he couldn't attend Murray.
Van Wagoner said that because the parent wasn't directly affiliated with the school, the board didn't believe it was a recruiting situation. Aloi, whose two older brothers played at Murray, will have to sit out his sophomore season.