In a precedent-setting case, the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled Friday that a high school athlete has standing to challenge an adverse decision concerning that student’s eligibility to participate in high school athletics.
The state’s high court ruled on the matter which involved former Olive Branch High School football player and star quarterback Ross Trail. The court’s finding was released Friday in a 17-page ruling.
The Mississippi High School Activities Association had ruled that Trail, a transfer from Wynne, Ark., was ineligible for the 2013 season because the Trail family had not made a “bona fide move” to the DeSoto County School District.
One parent had stayed behind so that Trail’s sister could remain in school in Arkansas.
The MHSAA notified the school that under its interpretations of its rules and regulations, that Ross Trail was thus ineligible to play.
Neither the DeSoto County School District nor Olive Branch High School appealed through the MHSAA’s internal procedure, so the Trail family immediately filed a petition for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction in DeSoto County Chancery Court.
A subsequent order in that court revoked the MHSAA ruling and Trail was allowed to play as the star quarterback for the Olive Branch High School Conquistadors.
The high court released its conclusion in the case with the following statement.
“While it is generally true that high school students have no legally- protected right to participate in high school athletics, once a school decides to create a sports program and establish eligibility rules, the school _ or as in this case, MHSAA — has a duty to follow those rules; and it may be held accountable when it does not do so.”
The court went on to say that students’ rights have a preponderance in matters.
“Without the students, there would be no school, no principal, no school board, no MHSAA, and no athletic program, so we find it fairly obvious that high school student-athletes are among the intended beneficiaries of high school athletic programs, and the rules that govern them — whether those rules are administered by the school, the school district, or a private entity with whom the school contacts.”
DeSoto County School District spokesperson Geri Hill in the DCS communications department said the School District had not had time to review the court’s decision issued late Friday afternoon.
Robert Lee Long is Community Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at rlong@desototimestribune.com or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s