(Ethete, Wyo.) – Jarrick Trumbull, 17, was looking forward to his senior season in varsity basketball in Pavillion at Wind River High School. He intended on playing as well as he could to earn a scholarship to college, perhaps the only way he could get there. In his junior season at Wind River, Jarrick averaged 13 points, five rebounds, four steals and three assists a game for the Cougars. Jarrick was an integral part of the Wind River team during his three seasons, in which the Cougars reached the state finals each year, winning once, ironically against Wyoming Indian.
Over the winter the unexpected happened. His mother Hattie lost her job of 13 years in a Tribal Court turnover and her unemployment ran out just as Jarrick and his little brother Skyson were registering for school at Wind River. Trumbull, a single mother, said she is also supporting her older son, Jayin, who is on a basketball scholarship to Black Hawk College in Illinois. “I pay his almost $600 a month housing and his trips back home for Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Hattie said. “It’s a big burden.” Jayin won his scholarship while an all-star all-everything forward at Wind River while winning two state championships in three years. Jarrick was counting on following in his big brother’s shoes.
The Trumbull’s live at the Mill Creek Housing some four miles Southeast of Ethete, and the jaunt to Pavillion is about 21 miles, one way. It became clear, Hattie told County10.com, that she could not afford that daily trek with increasing gasoline prices and the families other expenses.
Jarrick said he was excited to be going back to school at Ethete. “It’s closer and more convenient for me and my family,” he said. “It’s my community, it’s where I’m from, I’d be with my people. I thought it would be a good decision.” The Trumbull boys attended grade and middle school at Wyoming Indian before originally transferring to Pavillion in Jarrick’s Freshman year.
Hattie said she didn’t check on the transfer eligibility rules. “I didn’t think of that,” she said. “I didn’t think they would have an issue with a financial hardship.” She said the WHSAA ruled that I knew what I was getting myself into and that I hadn’t followed the transfer rule.
Hattie Trumbull eventually found a job, at the Ethete Convenience Store, but it’s not enough to cover basic expenses, she said.
Trumbull said she decided to take her two sons out of school at Wind River after two weeks and enroll them at Wyoming Indian, which was three miles from their home. That’s when the family found out that Jarrick and Skyson were not eligible to play varsity sports for one year, according to a ruling by Ron Laird, executive director of the Wyoming High School Activities Association. The school had requested a financial hardship transfer for the boys. The family appealed but to no avail, as the WHSAA Board of Control voted 9-3 to deny the appeal (see the denial letters copied below).
That’s the end of the road, Laird told County10.com. “We followed the process and the board was the final say,” he said.
The decision meant that Jarrick could only play Junior Varsity ball this year.
“I was hoping to get schools to look at me,” Jarrick said. “It’s my dream to go to college and play basketball. The only way I can get there is an athletic scholarship, basketball would’ve taken my there.”
The 17-year-old senior said he originally didn’t know h0w to feel or take it in. “It didn’t feel real to me, but now it does. I didn’t think about it when we transferred. It makes me sad watching the varsity, it depresses me knowing I could be out there and doing something, but it’s out of my hands.” Jarrick noted that Junior Varsity and Varsity “are two different levels. As a senior now, playing on JV is awful and I don’t like it.” He said he fears he’ll be overlooked when schools are looking for talent.
When asked if he would go back to Wind River where he could be eligible, Jarrick said, “No I don’t want to do that.”
Hattie said the family’s whole life revolves around basketball. “It keeps my boys out of trouble. I invested so much time and money into the kids, taking them to camps and tournaments and traveling teams. For it to come down and end like this is something I never wanted,” she said. “There were no bad intentions on our part. It’s a bad deal, he and Skyson got caught up in it. It’s unfortunate. It’s a tough lesson to go through.”
After the boy’s situation became public, the Wyoming Indian Community came together to support him,” Hattie said. “Coach (Craig) Ferris has been sending out videos on him to some schools, and a petition drive was launched to seek his reinstatement to varsity ball. “We’ve collected over 500 signatures,” she said. Not knowing if the petitions would be of any help. “Jarrick puts his heart and soul into basketball just like Jayin. To me it’s heartbreaking.”