Despite a temporary motion to play, Maori Davenport's eligibility record is far from settled

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<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Thursday, I wrote about the possibility Maori Davenport, basketball star of Charles Henderson High School in Troy, Alabama, has sued the Alabama High School Athletic Association for failing to play in his final year. "data-reactid =" 22 "> Thursday, I mentioned the possibility that Maori Davenport, a basketball star at Charles Henderson High School in Troy, Alabama, is suing the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) for having decided that she could not play in her last year.

<p class = "canvas-atom web-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "A legal action has now been initiated and it has already a "victory", albeit a temporary one: Friday afternoon, Pike County, Alabama Circuit Judge, Henry "Sonny" Reagan allowed an urgent motion for a temporary ban order that will allow Davenport to play for his team, the Trojans, tonight against Carroll High School. The restraining order, which temporarily prevents the AHSAA from executing its Davenport sentence, will only last until Reagan J. holds a hearing. At that time, both parties will have the opportunity to argue on the merits. "Data-reactid =" 23 "> A lawsuit has already been filed and it has already won a" victory ", albeit temporary, Friday afternoon.Henry" Sonny "Reagan, judge of the riding of Pike County ( Alabama), has filed an urgent motion to obtain a temporary blocking order allowing Davenport to play for his team, the Trojans, tonight against Carroll High School. 'S execution of his Davenport sentence , will only last until Reagan J. holds a hearing, at which time both parties will have the opportunity to argue on the merits.

<p class = "canvas-atom web-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "The decision of the judge Reagan Friday grants to one of the many remedies sought by Davenport and his parents, Mario and Tara Davenport, in their lawsuit against the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) and its executive director, Steve Savarese, in front of the Pike County Court Circuit, which was drafted by Alabama lawyers. Carl Cole and Grady Reeves. The Davenports require a temporary and permanent injunction and an urgent request for a temporary prohibition order. These remedies would, in particular, indicate that (1) Davenport is immediately eligible to play; (2) the AHSAA's decision against Davenport is invalid at first sight; and (3) the decision-making process of the AHSAA Act that led to Davenport's disability was arbitrary, based on collusion and the product of fraud. "data-reactid =" 24 "> The order of Judge Reagan, Friday, grants one of the many reparations requested by Davenport and his parents, Mario and Tara Davenport, in their lawsuit against Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) and its Executive Director, Steve Savarese, in front of the Pike County Circuit Court, at the initiative of Alabama's lawyers, Carl Cole and Grady.The Davenports are calling for a temporary injunction and a permanent order and an urgent request for a temporary restraining order, such as: (1) that Davenport is immediately eligible for gambling; (2) the decision of the AHSAA against Davenport is invalid at first sight, and (3) the decision-making process of the AHSAA Act that led to Davenport being declared inadmissible was arbitrary, based on collusion and the proceeds of fraud.

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "As detailed in Thursday column, Davenport, one of Canada's top high school basketball players, fell victim to a USA Basketball desktop error. Last August, she played for the USA basketball team winning the gold medal in the FIBA ​​Women's Under-18 Championship in Mexico City. USA Basketball planned to send each of its players a check for $ 857.20. Previously, USA Basketball was committed to checking with the relevant sports association of each player that this payment would not make it ineligible under state rules. "Data-reactid =" 25 "> As reported in Thursday's column, Davenport is victim of an error made by USA Basketball, one of the best high school basketball players in the country, she played for the United States gold medal winning team at the FIBA ​​Women's Under-18 Championship in Mexico USA Basketball planned to send each of its players a check of 39, an amount of 857.20 USD for occasional player travel (compensation). Previously, USA Basketball had committed to check with the sports association of the state concerned for each player. that such a payment would not make the player ineligible according to the rules of the state.

A USA Basketball administrative assistant, charged with verifying compliance with state sports association laws, failed to verify three players, the Maori and the Missouri and Illinois players. Worse, Davenport and his parents are reported to have received false assurances from several authorities on the relationship between check and eligibility to play basketball. According to the lawsuit, Davenport's mother, Tara Davenport (who is also assistant coach of her daughter's high school team), "specifically asked the coach of the United States team , Jeff Walz, if the checks would be "eligible" for the players to deposit.Tara Davenport was rightly concerned about the impact of any payment on the future of his daughter in basketball.The lawsuit claims that Walz assured him, The complaint also points out that, although US USA Basketball normally encloses a letter to the check to explain the purpose of the check, he forgot to do so for Davenport.

USA Basketball has fully apologized for its mistakes, but these excuses have no legal importance.

Indeed, once Davenport deposited the check, she immediately broke rule 1, section 8 of the AHSAA statutes. The rule states that a player loses his eligibility to play sports during a season if he accepts a payment or remuneration to play in a sports team. The rule is an offense of "strict liability": it does not matter if the rule is broken because of one's own fault or the fault of another: all that matters is that once the rule is broken, it is violated.

In the same vein, the fact that Davenport immediately repaid the money after learning that she had broken the rules of the AHSAA law made no difference. Unlike the eligibility rules in many other states, the AHSAA rule does not offer the player the opportunity to pursue a test exception that would attempt to correct an injustice.

Savarese – the AHSAA Executive Director – applied the eligibility rule as it read and declared that Davenport was not eligible for his senior season. In his school, Davenport appealed Savarese's decision to District 2 Council and then to the Central Board of Control of the AHSAA. These remedies failed, as the Chambers pointed out that Davenport had broken the rule in its wording. In other words, neither Savarese nor the councils seemed to care that Davenport had broken the rule without his fault. Instead, they identified a violation of the rule and, almost mechanically, imposed or confirmed the sentence that accompanies it.

The story continues

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "MCCANN and RAIOLA: Playoffs bring fame but not fortune to NFL players"data-reactid =" 35 ">MCCANN and RAIOLA: Playoffs bring fame but not fortune to NFL players

<h3 class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "The temporary blocking order is temporary"data-reactid =" 36 ">The temporary blocking order is temporary

While Moira Davenport and her family are undoubtedly delighted to return to the Trojans' squad for the Friday night game, it is worth noting that Reagan's order is by no means the last word on the subject.

<p class = "canvas-atom-canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "In this order of ideas, an order of Temporary restriction should not be confused with a decision on the merits. Rules of Civil Procedure of Alabamaa temporary restraining order can be granted without the opposing party (here, the AHSAA and Savarese) having the opportunity to respond significantly. This may occur when the plaintiff's motion makes a convincing argument that an immediate and irreparable injury would occur without the court having made the order. "Data-reactid =" 38 "> In this order of ideas, a temporary prohibition order should not be confused with a decision made.Under Alabama's Rules of Civil Procedure, a temporary prohibition order can be granted without the opposing party (here, AHSAA and Savarese) having the opportunity to respond in a meaningful way.This may occur when the plaintiff's motion is persuasive that immediate and irreparable injuries are occurring. produce without the order made by the court.

In the lawsuit, Davenport family lawyers, Cole and Reeves, explain admirably how Davenport can not be reinstated if she misses games due to a suspension that a court will deem illegal afterwards. In other words, if Davenport misses the rest of the season and in the summer a court will help in his favor, the victory will not really matter: the matches she missed will never be played again.

In issuing a temporary restraining order, Reagan J. essentially relies on the pause button. Through the trial of his family, Davenport pleaded his case. The AHSAA will soon file a response to the complaint. Reagan JA, who grants a temporary restraining order on behalf of Davenport, does not mean that he will rule in his favor after the hearing.

It is unclear when Reagan will hold the hearing, but it will probably be so soon: a temporary blocking order can not normally be longer than 10 days. Depending on how Reagan J. structured his order, the losing party could then go to a court of appeal for review.

<h3 class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Breaking the lawsuit"data-reactid =" 42 ">Breaking the lawsuit

<p class = "canvas-canvas-text-canvas Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "As I explained in my column Yesterday, Davenport struggles to convince a court to permanently reinstate him against the will of the law. In many cases, the Alabama courts have reviewed the AHSAA's decisions with great deference and have systematically rejected the remedies of the players. However, as the Supreme Court of Alabama made clear in the 1970 case Scott v. Kilpatricka player may thread the needle if he proves that the AHSAA has acted with arbitrary, collusion or fraud. "data-reactid =" 43 "> As I explained in my article yesterday, Davenport faces challenges in persuading a court to stay reinstated against the wishes of the AHSAA Act. Many cases, the courts of Alabama have reviewed the decisions of the AHSAA Act with substantial deference and have always rejected the remedies of the players. Scott v. Kilpatricka player may thread the needle if he proves that the AHSAA has acted with arbitrary, collusion or fraud.

To this end, the Davenport lawsuit argues that the AHSAA Act treated Davenport much more severely than other players, schools and coaches. The prosecution asserts that the AHSAA appeal process has altered the penalties for ineligibility in other cases for undisclosed and seemingly arbitrary reasons. As an illustration, the lawsuit explains how, in 2016, the AHSAA imposed a post-season ban on the Muscle Shoals High School football team due to recruitment violations. The Central Office then reinstated the eligibility of this team and, according to the Davenports, did so without any significant explanation. The lawsuit also notes that the AHSAA law imposed one-year playoff bans on three other schools and that they too were inexplicably "canceled, canceled or otherwise canceled". At no time have the charges brought to court been shared. , background factors explain the revised results. This lack of explanation, argues the lawsuit, reveals arbitrariness on the part of the AHSAA. The Davenports argue that the AHSAA is an organization that selectively forgives.

The Davenports also claim that the AHSAA eligibility rule is arbitrary in itself. As the prosecution points out, the rule "does not allow any distinction for an innocent error such as this case and intentional payments to compensate players for gambling or performance". The AHSAA law will probably answer by saying that the rule is not arbitrary, but on the contrary, every situation is treated in the same way: if there is a violation, there is a penalty. Nevertheless, the trial notes that sports associations in other states have treated Davenport differently. According to Davenports, one of the other two American basketball players who mistakenly received a check remains eligible to play (although in accordance with the rules of a state athletic association). different) for his high school team.

The alleged collusion is also described in the lawsuit. The Davenports claim that Savarese improperly influenced the appeal process by attempting to influence the members of the appeals committee. According to the lawsuit, "people present" at the appeal hearings indicated that Savarese had been asked to "re-enter the room at least one of the hearings" and that Savarese had shared information that would 39; were not relevant to the issue of eligibility. These hearings are supposed to be fair and impartial, with the boards reviewing the case "de novo", which means new and without deference to Savarese.

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "It remains to be seen if the Davenports have the necessary proofs and the testimony of witnesses in support of their charges against Savarese That being said, the concept of undue influence could be a viable avenue for the Davenports. column Thursday, the case of 1984 AHSAA c. Pink could prove his point. In that document, the Supreme Court of Alabama ruled that a high school athlete found to be ineligible under the AHSAA Act was denied due process. The executive director of the AHSAA had tried to influence the sports commission in the debates on the call of this player. "Data-reactid =" 47 "> It remains to be seen whether the Davenports have the evidence and testimony necessary to support their accusations against Savarese.That said, the notion of abusive influence could be an avenue viable for the Davenports. As I detail in my article on Thursday, the case of 1984 AHSAA c. Pink could prove his point. In that document, the Supreme Court of Alabama ruled that a high school athlete found to be ineligible under the AHSAA Act was denied due process. The executive director of the AHSAA had tried to influence sports council in his deliberations on the appeal of this player.

Finally, the Davenports claim that the AHSAA has committed fraud. The Davenports point out that the AHSAA knowingly relies on an error made by USA Basketball to punish an innocent Davenport. According to Davenports, punishing Davenport, who immediately returned the money after discovering USA Basketball's mistake, is tantamount to challenging fundamental fairness.

<h3 class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Next Steps and Remaining Barriers for Davenport"data-reactid =" 49 ">Next Steps and Remaining Barriers for Davenport

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "As stated above, Judge Reagan will soon be organizing an It is interesting to note that the lawsuit was filed in a state court rather than a federal court and Davenport's lawyers may have more confidence in their success in a state court where the judge is a electedonly in a federal court, where the judge would have a lifetime appointment and may be less influenced by public outrage at the AHSAA's punishment of Davenport. To this end, the prosecution avoids specifically mentioning federal constitutional claims. This is likely to reduce the chances of success of the AHSAA if it sought to have the case dismissed in the United States Central District Court of Alabama. "Data-reactid =" 50 "> As stated above, Judge Reagan It is interesting to note that the lawsuit was filed in a state court rather than a federal court. Davenports have more confidence in their success in a state court, where the judge is elected, than in federal courts, where the judge would have a lifetime appointment and perhaps be less influenced by indignation. of the LSSCA punishment of Davenport, the trial avoids specific reference to federal constitutional claims, the AHSAA's chances of success if it seeks filed (transferred) to the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama.

<p class = "web-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "One thing is clear: the Davenports hope that Judge Regan and appellate judges hearing appeals let Maori Davenport play the rest of the season, which is running out of time. 9-0 Trojans start on February 2nd. If the Trojans advance, they will participate in the championship tournament from February 25th to March 2nd. "Data-reactid =" 51 "> One thing is clear: the Davenports are hoping that Judge Regan and any other appeals court hearing the appeals let Maori Davenport argue for the rest of the season, which does not go to court. In fact, the series for the 9-0 Trojans starts on February 2. If the Trojans advance, they will continue to participate in the state championship tournament from February 25 to March 2.

Finally, although the Davenports continue to obtain court orders allowing Maori Davenport to play, AHSAA's Rule VI, Section 10 of the By-Laws could be a problem at a later date. This rule is called the "school restitution rule". It states in particular that if a student disqualified from the AHSAA Act is allowed to play due to a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction issued by a judge against the law, and if / l '. Injunction is canceled, canceled or otherwise invalid, a significant penalty is then imposed: "all competitions to which this non-eligible student has participated are lost, as well as all the honors, points or awards received by the school or the school". 39 Ineligible pupil. "In addition, according to this rule, the school" may be fined or sentenced to probation. [by the AHSAA] in the interests of restitution and equity vis-à-vis other member schools. Given that the Alabama Supreme Court has always ruled in favor of the AHSAA, it is reasonable to think that the rule of restitution could eventually become a problem for both Davenport and Charles Henderson graduate schools. We will see.

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 =" 54 ">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.