One of the most high profile high school athletics lawsuits in recent memory came to an abrupt, unceremonious end on Wednesday, leaving one party deeply aggrieved.
As reported by AL.com, the mother of Alabama high school girls basketball phenom Maori Davenport filed a motion to dismiss her family’s pending lawsuit against the Alabama High School Athletic Association. The request to dismiss the case followed the sudden elimination of Davenport’s team, Charles Henderson High School, in the regional finals of the Class 5A state playoffs.
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Davenport now famously regained her eligibility amidst widespread public condemnation of the AHSAA’s decision not to grant her a waiver for receiving compensation to cover her expenses for competing as part of a U.S. national team. That decision was eventually reversed, thanks to an emergency motion filed as a precursor to the case.
However, with both Davenport’s family lawyer and representation for the AHSAA, the need for their services was suddenly rendered moot by Henderson’s surprising loss to Ramsey. Without more high school basketball to play in 2019, and ergo no more to play in her prep career, Davenport no longer needed to beat the AHSAA to maintain her eligibility; there was nothing left for her to be eligible for.
Instead, just two days before the trial was to take place, the case was summarily dismissed by Pike County Circuit Judge Henry “Sonny” Reagan, even though the AHSAA’s representation failed to acquiesce to the request for dismissal.
The reason for that frustration on the part of the AHSAA may be two-fold: in addition to a desire to prove the original ruling by Executive Director Steve Savarese correct, the association also hoped to force Charles Henderson pay its legal expenses, which would have happened if the judge ruled against the Davenports, since the high school was a co-defendent in the case.
Now the AHSAA is the party examining its options, scrambling to see if there is a way to recoup its costs, and perhaps still have its day in court.