Siddoway ready for new challenge

Charles Siddoway (Scout.com)

It takes Charles Siddoway 15 minutes to get from his house to his new high school - South Eugene; only five minutes longer than it took to get to his old school, Marist. But for Siddoway, those five minutes represent a change that could have a dramatic impact on his future plans as a college student-athlete.

Siddoway informed Marist the day after his junior year that he was leaving the school. Financial considerations were important, but academics were also high on his list. "When I withdrew from Marist, I kind of had a pretty good idea that South Eugene was the school I would probably go to," Siddoway told Scout.com Tuesday night. "It's the best thing for me. They actually come out with higher test scores. It's the highest-rated place in Eugene."

But in a not-so-ironic twist, it was something off the field that is now pushing his chances of playing with the Axemen this fall. Once Siddoway takes part in an organized South Eugene practice, the Oregon Schools Activities Association will take his eligibility away from him. "Coaches from Marist were hired to play for South Eugene," Siddoway said. And according to Bylaw 865 of the OSAA constitution, a perception of undue influence exists because of the connection between Siddoway and the former Marist coaches that now work at South Eugene - Dietrich Moore and Terry Augustad - despite the fact that Moore and Augustad never coached Siddoway while at Marist and wouldn't be coaching him at South Eugene.

Siddoway also looked at Sheldon High School before finding out that there was a waiting list to attend. If he had been able to enroll at Sheldon, bylaw 865 would have been rendered moot, but ultimately the OSAA doesn't have to prove collusion to declare Siddoway ineligible.

Already knowing what action the OSAA will take once he officially slides on a South Eugene practice jersey, Siddoway and his family have been on the attack. When he attends the first double-day for the Axeman, he will be declared ineligible. That day will be August 18th. It's that day where Siddoway will appeal the process. The first appeal will be with a Southwest Conference committee. Pincipals from Sheldon, Roseburg and Grants Pass could grant a waiver at that time. If they don't, Siddoway will appeal the OSAA Eligibility board as soon as possible.

"We'll just have all the appeals in a row," Siddoway said. Siddoway added that he's hopeful he could be deemed eligible to play by the very next day. "Because we were thinking about transfering to Sheldon, they told us that they would support my decision. And I think it looks positive about the other coaches."

With his eligibility battle lined up and ready to go, Siddoway has been informally practicing with his new teamamtes three times a week. "I've gotten to know quite a few of the players," he said. "I like the team a lot. It feels like it's going to be a good fit."

Siddoway also leaves this Friday for camp at the University of Alabama, something he had been planning to do before his move to South Eugene. "I have never been down to Alabama or anywhere near there before, so I'll see how things are, check out the climate," he said. His former coaches at Marist had called Alabama on Charles' behalf, and their coaches had asked Charles to come to their camp so they could evaluate him in person.

"Hopefully it will generate some more interest," he added. With scholarship offers from Oregon, Oregon State, Boise State, Washington, Portland State, Army, UCLA and California, it's even more important that Siddoway play this fall to make sure those scholarships remain available to him.

Battling the OSAA has given Siddoway little time and energy to think about much else, let alone think about what college he might attend next fall. "I was thinking that after this camp (Alabama) I'll start to narrow things down, figure things out," he said. "Maybe I'll have a top five by then."

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