Maori Davenport will be allowed to play!
An Alabama high school basketball player who's been at the center of a controversy between the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) and seemingly everyone else will be allowed to play for her high school basketball team tonight.
Maori Davenport was ruled ineligible by the AHSAA after USA Basketball accidentally sent her a small stipend to cover some of her expenses incurred while representing her country at a tournament in Mexico. The money was paid back once the error was realized. But rather than show compassion or common sense, the AHSAA said Maori violated the Amateur Rule and ruled her ineligible. They doubled down on this bad decision when it came under fire -- from Jay Bilas of ESPN, from Good Morning America, from the Alabama House Republicans, and many others.
The original decision was made by former Daphne High School and McGill-Toolen High School football coach Steve Savarese, who is now the Executive Director of Alabama's high school governing body. The decision was appealed and ultimately affirmed by the AHSAA's Board of Control. As Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports pointed out, they've used a lot of circular logic to defend their position. And to nearly everyone but themselves, the power brokers at AHSAA simply look foolish.
Fortunately, someone else can do something about this travesty. Enter Pike County Circuit Judge Sonny Reagan. He has granted an emergency motion to let Maori Davenport play pending the outcome of the upcoming litigation over it.
The AHSAA had little to say about the ruling, just this from a spokesperson: "We’re aware of the litigation and in discussions to formulate an appropriate response."
Wouldn't you love to hear those discussions? I wonder if any among them is saying... "This is a mistake. She did nothing wrong, and it just makes us look bad. Let's cut our losses and do the right thing here." Think anyone at AHSAA is saying that? I hope so, but I'm not holding my breath.
Maori Davenport is a teenager, and she was let down by a lot of adults. If you haven't read my original blog post, which tells the whole story, click on the story below....