Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Canadian Lacrosse Players Encounter Work Authorization Delays

Major League Lacrosse (MLL) recently drafted two star Canadians rookies, Kevin Crowley and Jordan McBride, who have been delayed from starting play due to the adjudication of their P-1 visa petitions.

“We’re working on that,” Nationals coach Regy Thorpe said Wednesday when asked if Crowley would be available for Thursday’s game. “He was available last week, but there are some issues on us working out the visa stuff, logistic stuff that was kind of out of our control. We’re hoping to have him for tomorrow night.”

Interestingly, both Crowley and McBride just finished their studies as F-1 students at Stony Brook University in New York. Those knowledgeable about immigration law may be cognizant of the fact that F-1 students are typically entitled to at least 1 year of post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT), or work authorization. One might ask, why didn't Crowley and McBride play for the MLL using their OPT authorization? The answer is, OPT regulations mandate that the new job "must be directly related to the student’s major area of study." Presumably neither Crowley nor McBride majored in "Lacrosse" while at Stony Brook, despite their likely dedication to the sport as student-athletes. An open question is, would majoring in "Sports Science", "Kinesiology" or "Exercise Science" entitle a student to utilize F-1 OPT work authorization to play professional sports?

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