Legal Consequences of Maori Davenport's Eligibility for Basketball Practice in High School

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The eligibility of Maori Davenport, a student at Charles Henderson High School in Troy, Alabama, to play basketball has become a national sports controversy. As explained below, this could soon become a legal controversy.

<p type = "text" content = "The Davenport situation is explained by experts ESPN's Jay Bilas, who pleaded for Davenport to return to court. Davenport is one of the best high school basketball players in the country. Last year, she drove her school under the state. Next year, Davenport is committed to playing for Rutgers. This year, however, has become cloudy. All this is due to the fact that Davenport was penalized for the mistake of another. "Data-reactid =" 23 "> Davenport's situation is expertly explained by ESPN's Jay Bilas, who argued for Davenport to return to court, the basketball players at the school. She led her school as a state, and next year Davenport promises to play for Rutgers, but this year the weather has become cloudy.

Last August, Davenport played for the USA basketball team winning the gold medal in the FIBA ​​Under-18 Championship for the Americas in Mexico City. USA Basketball was planning to send each of its players, including Davenport, a check for $ 857.20. This amount corresponds to an allowance for travel expenses and incidental expenses. It complies with the NCAA rules, which means it would not affect the eligibility of players if they play college basketball.

Before sending the check, USA Basketball has committed to confirm with the high school sports association of each player that the payment would not endanger the eligibility of the player to the high school. As Bilas explains, USA Basketball has forgotten to contact the Alabama High School Sports Association (AHSAA).

If USA had done so, USA Basketball would have learned that any payment made to Davenport would have led to breaking rule 1, section 8 of the statutes of the AHSAA Act. This rule states expressly that a player who accepts a payment or remuneration to play in a sports team is not eligible to play. Here is the specific language of the rule:

<p type = "text" content = "Only amateurs are eligible. An amateur is someone who does not use his knowledge of athletics or his skills to win. The quality of amateur must be determined as follows:"data-reactid =" 28 ">Only amateurs are eligible. An amateur is someone who does not use his knowledge of athletics or his skills to win. The quality of amateur must be determined as follows:

<p type = "text" content = "(a) A student is not eligible if he has received prize money, if he has sold a prize received in a competition or where he has bet on a contest in which he is a participant."data-reactid =" 30 ">(a) A student is not eligible if he has received prize money, if he has sold a prize received in a competition or where he has bet on a contest in which he is a participant.

<p type = "text" content = "(b) Professionalism is defined as the acceptance of remuneration, directly or indirectly, to play in sports teams and in sports activities or to play under a name of borrowing."data-reactid =" 31 ">(b) Professionalism is defined as the acceptance of remuneration, directly or indirectly, to play in sports teams and in sports activities or to play under a name of borrowing.

<p type = "text" content = "(c) A student who accepts material or financial incentives from any source is not eligible."data-reactid =" 32 ">(c) A student who accepts material or financial incentives from any source is not eligible.

In November, USA Basketball realized its mistake. He then alerted Davenport, Charles Henderson High School and the AHSAA. USA Basketball explained that the error was totally unintentional and reflected a desk surveillance by a staff member. USA Basketball is excused several times and has assumed all the responsibility.

For its part, Davenport immediately returned the money. She hoped this would remedy any problem of compliance with the law.

Unfortunately, it is not the case.

By accepting the payment, Davenport had breached the AHSAA eligibility rule. This is true even though she did not think that accepting a payment from USA Basketball – the body that governs basketball in the United States and a reputable and reputable organization – would push her to break the rules of the law. Davenport, like her teammates, also had reason to believe that accepting a payment would not jeopardize her eligibility. After all, USA Basketball has been tasked with resolving this compliance problem. That said, while this may seem like an important point, it does not matter under the law's eligibility rule. The fact that Davenport immediately refunded the money after learning of USA Basketball's mistake also made no difference: once the payment was accepted, she broke the rule, which offers no way to remedy the situation. or to ask for difficulties (see below).

Even worse for Davenport is the provision of the eligibility rule. It states that a player in violation of the rule may only be reinstated after a high school season for the sport. Since Davenport is a senior, there is no next high school basketball season for her. In the absence of a policy change on the part of the AHSAA or a court order, Davenport's exemplary career in basketball in the Charles Henderson High School Trojans is over .

Bilas and others argued that the penalty imposed by Davenport was grotesquely unfair and "defies reasonableness". For his story, Bilas interviewed Steve Savarese, executive director of the AHSAA. Savarese explained to Bilas that he was "absolute authority" in cases of eligibility and that he had the exclusive discretion to make a decision. Bilas implored Savarese to reconsider the punishment.

To this end, Bilas highlighted a number of points that combine decency and pragmatism. "There was no intention of breaking a rule," Bilas said, "[and] no intent to mislead or result in harm to any person or entity. "He also observed that" USA Basketball had no intention of violating a rule of the AHSAA law. "Bilas, who is both a lawyer, a journalist and a journalist, focused on the intent of the rule." Bilas wrote: "When the rule was first adopted, it did not considered punishing a player for an error of writing committed by the governing body of a national sport. When the rule was adopted for the first time, no one could have imagined that a simple mistake would lead to such a hard result. "

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "MCCANN: The countless legal implications of Kliff Kingsbury's cloudy situation"data-reactid =" 45 ">MCCANN: The countless legal implications of Kliff Kingsbury's cloudy situation

Savarese is not persuaded by these points. He emphasizes that the wording of the rule does not offer any possibility of exception. To this end, Savarese argues that to exempt Davenport from the requirements of the rule would be "arbitrary and capricious" because it would treat a player differently than the others. He also warns that granting an exception in this case would open a "Pandora's Box" allowing other players to avail themselves of Davenport's exception as a precedent (at the same time, Savarese admits that & # 039; He has never seen such a situation in his country before. "44 years as an educator, suggesting that an exception might not be revealed beyond Davenport. ).

Savarese also insists that if Davenport has a grievance with others, it should not be with him or the AHSAA. Instead, says Savarese, Davenport should target USA Basketball for failing to make a phone call. Savarese is also responsible for Davenport's mother, Tara Davenport, assistant coach of the Trojans. Savarese argues that, as a coach, Tara Davenport "should have known better" the relationship between her daughter or any player who accepts a payment and the AHSAA eligibility rule.

<h3 class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Davenport Loses AHSAA Remedies And Why It Matters Legally"data-reactid =" 48 ">Davenport Loses AHSAA Remedies And Why It Matters Legally

To date, neither Davenport nor Charles Henderson High School has challenged Savarese's decision in court. However, the high school has already challenged the decision through the internal appeal procedure described in the constitution of the AHSAA law.

Under Article XI, an official decision taken by the Executive Director may be appealed to the District Council competent for the school. In turn, the decision of that district council can be appealed to the Central Oversight Council of the AHSAA, which has final authority over all cases brought before it. The high school first appealed to District 2 Council, which voted unanimously to uphold Savarese's decision. She then appealed to the central council of the AHSAA law, which upheld the ruling last month. Both boards focused on the obvious fact that Davenport had clearly broken the rule.

Although administrative remedies failed, they were essential procedural steps before they could take legal action. In most cases, judges require plaintiffs to exhaust all domestic remedies before a court can review a case. The underlying logic is that a case is not yet ripe for judicial review if all the relevant facts are not yet developed or if the dispute can still be resolved through a dispute. internal process that governs the parties. Here, Davenport, through his high school and principal, Brock Kelley, has clearly exhausted his domestic remedies.

<h3 class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "If Davenport files a lawsuit, here are the kinds of arguments it would raise."data-reactid =" 52 ">If Davenport files a lawsuit, here are the kinds of arguments it would raise.

Although the AHSAA Central Oversight Committee has "final authority" over any eligibility cases involving an athlete governed by the AHSAA, that authority refers to the AHSAA system of justice, not the system. legal. Davenport could sue the AHSAA. In a lawsuit, Davenport would ask the court to ban the AHSAA law from enforcing Savarese's inadmissibility decision. She could also claim damages for potential injury to her basketball career by noting that she could play, but Davenport's most likely goal of being sued would be to return to the field (basketball). ball).

Davenport would likely propose two basic types of legal arguments. First, Davenport asserts that the AHSAA Act was unlawful in the way that Savarese applied the eligibility rule. Second, Davenport would challenge the legality of the rule itself.

To that end, Davenport alleged that the law breached the 14th Amendment's procedural and equality of protection clauses in the US Constitution. She could also insist that her rights of free association under the First Amendment were illegally compromised.

In constructing these points, Davenport could insist that a one year loss in basketball would hurt his educational experience and thus deprive him of a legally protected interest. She also insists that the loss occurs with any opportunity to be considered in the administration of justice by law. Davenport would therefore argue that the AHSAA failed to provide due process.

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "MCCANN and RAIOLA: Playoffs bring glory but not fortune to NFL players"data-reactid =" 57 ">MCCANN and RAIOLA: Playoffs bring glory but not fortune to NFL players

The notion of legally protected interest would be crucial in any case brought by Davenport. She would argue that the loss of basketball is not just a "sporty" loss. A court would be much less likely to rule in its favor if its loss concerned only athletics rather than education. Indeed, Davenport would insist that the loss of basketball would have a negative impact on his scholastics. In the same vein, she could argue that membership in the basketball team was critical to her academic success and social development. This could perhaps be highlighted by the interest of the colleges for her in part because of her success in basketball. By separating from his team, his teammates and his coaches, Davenport is excluded from the experience that has been most critical to his growth as a person and as a student. This could delay his development as a person.

In addition, although the courts have generally rejected the claim that participation in extracurricular activities is a constitutionally protected interest, Davenport's participation in his school's basketball team is unique. She is the star of the team – and it was the best team in the state last year. To the extent that participation in a sport should be protected, Davenport seems to be a good example.

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Davenport would also highlight how it was not granted procedural right to argue meaningfully that his situation must count, many sports associations of states, including the Arkansas Business Association and the Arizona Interscholastic Association, allow student athletes to apply for a "hardship exemption". Under this waiver, a state sports council may cancel or at least modify an eligibility rule as it applies to a particular student athlete. There is usually talk of "difficulties" when, due to circumstances beyond the control of the student athlete, the application of the eligibility rule would cause undue hardship. If Alabama allowed difficulties, Davenport would have a convincing argument for claiming it. She insists she is about to lose a year of basketball because of USA Basketball's mistake. "Data-reactid =" 60 "> Davenport also points out that she did not enjoy the procedural right to argue meaningfully that her situation should be taken into account.Many state athlete associations, including the Arkansas Activities Association and the Arizona Interscholastic Association, allow student athletes to apply for a "waiver of strict obligations." Under this waiver, a state sports council may waive or at least modify a rule of eligibility as it applies to a "difficulty" when, due to circumstances beyond the control of the student athlete, the application of the eligibility rule would cause undue hardship.If Alabama allowed difficulties, Davenport would have a compelling argument to claim it.It insists that she is about to lose a a year of basketball because of USA Basketball mistake.

Similarly, although Davenport had the opportunity to appeal Savarese's decision, it does not appear that USA Basketball's responsibility for the error made the slightest difference. Instead, Savarese and the appeal councils seemed to focus exclusively on the technical violation of a rule.

Davenport could also raise an argument of equal protection under the fourteenth amendment. It is likely that the AHSAA infringes on a fundamental right protected by the Constitution. Davenport would probably not argue that she had the basic right to play sports. Courts have generally rejected such a theory on the ground that the Constitution does not explicitly or implicitly protect the "right" to play sports. Instead, she would tend to insist that her experience in the basketball team is so inextricably linked to her academic experience that a loss of eligibility for basketball is a violation of her fundamental right to 'education.

Otherwise, if Davenport believes that the AHSAA Act treated him differently from male and / or white athletes – as if the AHSAA law previously granted exceptions to the rule of eligibility that she now considers to be absolute – she could invoke a different type of equal protection argument. . Specifically, she could state that she was treated differently because of her gender or race. To be clear, Savarese and the AHSAA law claim that no exception has been made. Davenport would therefore need to find evidence to the contrary.

<p class = "canvas-canvas-text canvas Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "In addition, Davenport could maintain that his exclusion from the horses Troy violates its right to free association as suggested by the First Amendment. NAACP c. Alabama), the courts have found that a government entity can not prevent groups from coming together to offer social and political views. Although not part of the government, the law was found and funded by the taxpayer. subject constitutional claims. If Davenport could say that being part of the basketball team allows her and her teammates to express ideas, maybe Davenport could take advantage of a First Amendment claim. Trojans violate his right to free association, as suggested by the First Amendment. In some cases (especially in NAACP c. Alabama), the courts have found that a government entity can not prevent groups from coming together to offer social and political views. Although not part of the government, the Adult Safety and Health Act is funded by the taxpayer and has been found to be subject to constitutional claims. If Davenport could say that being part of the basketball team allows her and her teammates to be a place to express ideas, maybe Davenport could take advantage of a Premier's claim. amendment.

<h3 class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "AHSAA's likely defenses against Davenport lawsuit"data-reactid =" 65 ">AHSAA's likely defenses against Davenport lawsuit

While Davenport and his lawyers may be able to take legal action that logically focuses on issues of equity and fairness, it is likely that the AHSAA would have defeated him. There are at least five reasons why.

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "First, the courts of the & ## 39, Alabama reviewed the decisions of the AHSAA with what was clarified in the 1970 case Scott v. Kilpatrick. The Supreme Court of Alabama suggested to the courts not to guess the decisions of the AHSAA law unless there is clear and convincing evidence that these decisions result from a "fraud", of 39 "collusion" or "arbitrary". Similarly, the Alabama Supreme Court emphasized that the AHSAA and its members "are better placed than anyone to adopt rules governing participation in sports in high schools and are fully aware of the reasons for them. behind. " Initially, Davenport should therefore overcome an intrinsic advantage. As for the standard of review of the AHSAA Act. "Data-reactid =" 67 "> First, Alabama Courts have considered the AHSAA Act's decisions with a great deal of deference, which was clearly stated in the 1970 case. Scott v. Kilpatrick. The Supreme Court of Alabama suggested to the courts not to guess the decisions of the AHSAA law unless there is clear and convincing evidence that these decisions result from a "fraud", of 39 "collusion" or "arbitrary". Similarly, the Alabama Supreme Court emphasized that the AHSAA and its members "are better placed than anyone to adopt rules governing participation in sports in high schools and are fully aware of the reasons for them. behind. " Initially, Davenport should therefore overcome an intrinsic advantage. AHSAA in terms of standard of control.

<p class = "canvas-atom-canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Second, as noted above, courts rarely recognize right to play sports. it's producedbut much more often, the courts simply reject the idea that a sports student has a constitutionally protected interest in playing sports. Playing sports is generally considered a privilege rather than a right. In the above Scott In its judgment, the Supreme Court of Alabama stated this view: "Participation in sports in high schools is an extracurricular activity subject to eligibility rules (…). The exercise of these activities is a privilege. the basketball team as a school experience and therefore necessarily related to his education, a court would probably reject this view. A court would likely consider its participation primarily as a sport. "Data-reactid =" 68 "> Secondly, as noted above, courts rarely recognize a fundamental right to play sports, which has been the case, but more often the courts simply reject the idea that a student-athlete has a constitutionally protected interest in playing a sport Playing a sport is generally considered a privilege rather than a right. Scott In its judgment, the Supreme Court of Alabama stated this view: "Participation in sports in high schools is an extracurricular activity subject to eligibility rules (…). The exercise of these activities is a privilege. the basketball team as a school experience and therefore necessarily related to his education, a court would probably reject this view. Instead, a court would likely consider that its involvement was primarily athletics.

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "MCCANN: How could the MLB-FCB deal with legal obstacles and political resistance?"data-reactid =" 69 ">MCCANN: How could the MLB-FCB deal with legal obstacles and political resistance?

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Again, and more favorably for Davenport, the Court Alabama's Supreme Court has, on at least one occasion, ruled in favor of a high school sportsman's claim, although sport is a privilege in Alabama. AHSAA c. Pink, the Supreme Court of Alabama ruled that a high school athlete had been denied a fair and impartial hearing, which was denied him. the Pink The case concerned a high school football player deemed ineligible by the AHSAA. The decision of ineligibility arises from a discrepancy concerning the place of residence of the player's parents in the school district concerned. The player nevertheless prevailed in his case due to improper conduct on the part of the AHSAA. Indeed, the AHSAA executive director had tried to influence the athletic board in his deliberations on the player's call, thus preventing the player from benefiting from a fair and impartial hearing. While Pink As an encouraging decision for Davenport, no evidence has been (yet) revealed suggesting such undue influence in Davenport's appeals. "data-reactid =" 70 "> Again, and more favorably for Davenport, the Alabama Supreme Court has at least one opportunity in favor of the regular claims of high school athletes, despite the fact that sport is a privilege in Alabama. AHSAA c. Pink, the Supreme Court of Alabama ruled that a high school athlete had been denied a fair and impartial hearing, which was denied him. the Pink The case concerned a high school football player deemed ineligible by the AHSAA. The decision of ineligibility arises from a discrepancy concerning the place of residence of the player's parents in the school district concerned. The player nevertheless prevailed in his case due to improper conduct on the part of the AHSAA. Indeed, the AHSAA executive director had tried to influence the athletic board in his deliberations on the player's call, thus preventing the player from benefiting from a fair and impartial hearing. While Pink an encouraging decision for Davenport, no evidence has been revealed (at this time) suggesting that Davenport's appeals have been unduly influenced.

Third, the AHSAA would insist that Davenport was treated like everyone else. Through his high school, Davenport has received two calls and parallel hearings. From this point of view, the AHSAA would insist that Davenport was not denied a similar procedure or protection.

Fourth, the AHSAA would mean that a court reading an exception to the Davenport eligibility rule would betray the wording of the rule. In other words, Davenport needs an exception to the rule that his language does not provide. To invent a new provision would be to "legislate instead of the court". This would also make the rule less reliable, since players who might challenge eligibility could similarly argue for exceptions invented by the courts.

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Fifth, while some states allow student athletes to search Alabama is under no obligation to do the same for the financial hardship waiver, and in the future, the state may pass a law compelling the AHSAA to change its rules. Member of the House of Representatives, Representative Kyle South, announced plans introduce a bill that would effectively change the composition of the AHSAA's governing members and treat the AHSAA as a Crown agency for audit purposes. Data-reactid = "73"> Fifth, while some states allow student athletes to apply for waivers for hardship, Alabama is state could enact legislation requiring the AHSAA to change its rules. A member of the House of Representatives, the representative of the Republic, Kyle South, announced his intention to introduce a bill that would effectively change the composition of the AHSAA's governing members and considers the AHSAA as a body of State for audit purposes. Such legislation may lead to new AHSAA rules that prevent the kind of situation Davenport has experienced, but it would not help.

IF you will be aware of Davenport's main legal developments regarding eligibility.

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Michael McCann is the legal analyst of SI. He is also Associate Dean of the University of New Hampshire School of Law and is the Editor and Co-Author of Oxford Handbook of American Sports Law and Court Justice: The story of my fight against the NCAA."data-reactid =" 75 ">Michael McCann is the legal analyst of SI. He is also Associate Dean of the University of New Hampshire School of Law and is the Editor and Co-Author of Oxford Handbook of American Sports Law and Court Justice: The story of my fight against the NCAA.