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Here we go again

Another SSAC ruling of ineligibitlity.  Another lawsuit.  I cringed when talking about the Elkins players suddenly suspended due to a residency issue.  (The player must live in the school district to play for that district's school, unless there is a proper transfer)  Apparently a star running back for Elkins moved out is his parents' home to live with a grandmother in the Elkins district.  The SSAC believed it to be a ruse and declared the young man "out".  Elkins football went from 7-2 and playoff bound to 0-9 and left to wonder what might have been.

This happens every year in WV high school sports and it creates heartache every time for the school, players, parents and fans.  The natural reaction is to sue, and while I never am angered by someone exercising their constitutional rights, I can't help but think there may be better ways to address such issues.

The reason I reacted physically to the news was due to memories of last year when the ten girls volleyball players from our area were suspended for (GASP) trying out for a travel team that was to begin play two months after the completion of the high school season.  The SSAC, in conjunction with school administrators, made their rulings within 48 hours.  There were no hearings, presentations of evidence, or arguments to make.  It is a kangaroo court in the highest degree.

As an attorney, there were credible arguments to make for the girls reinstatement.  When the SSAC said "sorry, there is no forum for the presentation of evidence", parents naturally wanted to sue.  Knowing the history of our courts and how SSAC matters are handled there, I knew it was a lost cause..  To the credit of the many parents involved then, no suit was filed.

Yet lawsuits are filed often against the SSAC and it is mainly because their arcane rules do not provide for an opportunity to be heard.  If parents and coaches would just have a chance to "make their case", I believe many more people would be accepting and perhaps a few injustices would be avoided (like the high school baseball player suspended because he played in a church league game on a Sunday)  I begged the SSAC to establish an appeal procedure that would take no more than 3 to 5 days and would afford everyone an opportunity to explain.  Their decision was to keep on truckin' on instead and now, once again, their resources will be paid over to attorneys and the courts, whether they are right or wrong.

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Locations : Elkins

10/27/2012 10:24AM
Here we go again
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