Maori Davenport has new hearing date with AHSAA over eligibility battle

Photo: Mickey Welsh/Montgomery Advertiser)

Maori Davenport has new hearing date with AHSAA over eligibility battle

Girls Basketball

Maori Davenport has new hearing date with AHSAA over eligibility battle

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The temporary restraining order that allows Maori Davenport to play will remain in effect through the regional playoffs.

The hearing date for a lawsuit filed by her mother, Tara Davenport, against the Alabama High School Athletic Association has been postponed from Friday, according to AL.com.

According to the site, a judge will hear arguments on Feb. 22 whether to transfer the case to Montgomery County or dismiss it, a motion filed by the AHSAA. If it continues in Pike County, arguments for the original lawsuit filed by Tara Davenport will take place on Feb. 25-26.

The Davenports live in Pike County, according to the lawsuit filed on AL. The AHSAA office is in Montgomery.

Regional playoffs begin Monday, meaning Davenport will be eligible to play in them.

The state championship tournament begins Feb. 25. Her eligibility for that hinges on the decision.

The AHSAA suspended Davenport for breaking an amateurism rule by accepting a check from USA Basketball, where she played over summer.

She was paid $857.20 for what the lawsuit refers to as a “broken time” payment. USA Basketball typically pays athletes to recompense for lost wages and employment opportunities, spokesperson Craig Miller said.

The NCAA allows players to receive these payments.

USA Basketball ordinarily checks with the high school federations to make sure athletes are allowed to accept checks. But due to what Miller called a “clerical mistake,” USA Basketball did not refer to the AHSAA before paying Davenport.

She was one of two players on the team who were not rising college freshman.

Players in the AHSAA are not allowed to be awarded more than $250 worth of value (page 29-30 of the association handbook).

The lawsuit claims the Davenports checked with USA Basketball multiple times to ensure they were allowed to take the money. They were assured they could.

Here is a timeline of events, according to the lawsuit:

  • “On or around” Aug. 15: USA Basketball sent the check. It was deposited.
  • Nov 26: The Davenports were alerted they could not accept the payment.
  • Nov. 27: Tara Davenport self-reported the check to the AHSAA and Charles Henderson High School (Troy, Ala.).
  • Nov. 28: The Davenports reimbursed the money.
  • Nov. 30: USA Basketball receives the payment; Maori Davenport is suspended.

The suspension was upheld by the AHSAA on Dec. 12.

As time went on, notable sports personalities including ESPN’s Jay Bilas and Golden State Warriors player DeMarcus Cousins began advocating for Davenport to be allowed to play.

The Alabama House Republicans unanimously passed a resolution supporting her reinstatement on Jan. 10, according to AL.

On Jan. 11, a temporary restraining order was filed, allowing Davenport to play again.

As a junior, Davenport averaged 18.2 points 12 rebounds and 5.1 blocks per game. Charles Henderson was 5A runner-up and Davenport scored 20 points, grabbed 25 rebounds and blocked 19 shots in the championship game, according to AL.

She started four of six games for USA Basketball over summer.

Davenport is committed to Rutgers.

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Maori Davenport has new hearing date with AHSAA over eligibility battle
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