“They accepted me as one of their own early and made me a part of the community,” Cornwell said. “Tyler and Payton took me in and made me feel like a part of the team right from the start.”
Things were looking up for the Cornwells, but life had another curveball ready to throw at the family, one that threatened to end David’s high school career and threaten his college plans as well.
OSSAA rules and bylaws have claimed a number of casualties over the years, as coaches and players have too often broken procedures — with disastrous consequences for their schools — without even knowing what rules were being broken.
It looked like Cornwell would be the next in line after the OSSAA initially ruled him ineligible for this season because it came more than four years after he first began his high school career.
The decision rocked Cornwell, who didn’t know his eligibility would be questioned. With the help of a lawyer, the family appealed the decision to the OSSAA and provided the ruling organization with school and medical records in an effort to prove that Cornwell’s missed semester came as a result of “circumstances that are outside the control of the student and his or her parents,” as OSSAA guidelines require for an additional year of eligibility to be granted.
The wait for a decision was agonizing for both Cornwell and many of his college suitors, who indicated that they wanted to see Cornwell play an additional season. The OSSAA’s executive board delayed a decision several times before ultimately voting in June — after the Cornwells provided a small mountain of paperwork — to send the decision back to committee, where it was decided that Cornwell would be allowed to play after all.
Cornwell was ecstatic at the decision — he said he couldn’t help but scream after he found out — and after the closure of a case that drew considerable national attention he wasn’t the only one.