Judge Allows High School Basketball Star to Play Amid Controversy

Maori Davenport, a girls high school basketball star and Rutgers recruit, was ruled ineligible for her senior season of basketball after a controversial ruling. Back in November 2018, the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) suspended Davenport after she cashed an $857.20 check sent to her by Team USA. Previously, in August 2018, Davenport played for Team USA in the FIBA Americas U18 Tournament. The $857.20 check was sent to Davenport to cover her expenses and lost wages; however, a clerical error was made and the check was mistakenly sent to Davenport. The amount of check exceeded a threshold that the AHSAA allows its players to receive.

Once Davenport learned of the AHSAA violation, she returned all of the $857.20 check to Team USA with the hopes of reversing the AHSAA’s decision. Yet the AHSAA upheld the ruling, despite Team USA’s admitting that the check was issued to Davenport due to a clerical error. According to Team USA, it typically consults with various high school federations and associations prior to issuing checks to participating players, but Team USA failed to do so in Davenport’s case. Davenport reportedly appealed the AHSAA decision twice, once to an AHSAA district board, and later to an AHSAA central board; however, both appeals were unsuccessful.

Eventually, Davenport and her family filed lawsuit asking an Alabama state court judge to invalidate the AHSAA’s suspension. On January 11, 2019, a Pike County Circuit Court Judge, Henry Reagan, issued a temporary restraining order, which allowed Davenport to play for the first time since November. However, Judge Reagan’s order was only temporary and only permitted Davenport to play until the court could make a final ruling based on the merits of the lawsuit.

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