The suit was filed by Teresa Bloodman in October and she states that her freshman son made the basketball team after two tryouts, however he was among 9 of the 11 strong team cut after a third tryout held for football players transitioning to basketball.
The suit states:
“…the deprivation of the right to a full and complete education which includes competition in sports and consequently athletic scholarships impairs *John Doe of a property right guaranteed under both the U.S. and State Constitutions.”
Utilizing a blunderbuss approach Ms Bloodman alleges that the coaches for the team are uncertified, unqualified to coach and have no right to decide who doesn’t get to play on the team. This will undoubtedly be a revelation to professional and amateur coaches across the country who felt that being coach gave them the right to pick their team. Ms Bloodman further contends that the third tryout was a de facto violation of her son’s equal protection right because girls teams doesn’t use this method to pick squads. For good measure Ms Bloodman also considers the lack of opportunity for her son to appeal his being cut to be a due process violation.
Jay Bequette is the attorney for the Pulaski County Special School District seems unfazed:
“The simple issue here is whether or not a student has a right to participate in extra-curricular activities; be it band, choir or whatever,” Bequette said.
In the district’s reponse to the lawsuit, Bequette quotes a prior Eighth Circuit ruling, which says, “There is no clearly established right of parents to have their children compete in interscholastic athletics.”
This is not the only strange equal rights for school sports to have become news recently. A diminutive thirteen year old boy playing for the Southampton High School girls’ field hockey team on Long Island, NY was recently told by Suffolk’s mixed-competition committee that his permission to play was being rescinded for next year. This wasn’t due to a puberty-driven growth or strength spurt that would make it unsuitable for him to continue playing; he is little changed physically in the two years he has been playing. His ban arose because he had simply become too good at field hockey.
Ms Bloodman’s lawsuit is still making its way through the legal system and a trial date has not yet been set. It is unclear whether she wishes to change the rules of school sports to allow every student to play on the team simultaneously.