Davenport case against AHSAA dismissed

Published 10:05 pm Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Shortly after the Charles Henderson High School girls lost to Ramsay in the Elite 8 in Montgomery, senior standout Maori Davenport’s case against the AHSAA was dismissed.

“I represented Maori Davenport and our goal was to make sure she stayed on the court for every game that her team played as long as I represented her through the season,” said Carl Cole, attorney for the Davenports. “Unfortunately, that ended a couple of games earlier than we had hoped. I have filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit against the AHSAA. I left the game and talked to the AHSAA lawyers and subsequently filed a motion to dismiss the case, which I expect to be granted before the hearing. That should conclude the matter”

The girls fell to the Rams 44-42 in the championship game of the AHSAA Class 5A, Southeast Regional Tournament Wednesday morning.

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Shortly after the Davenports filed for the case to be dismissed, Pike County Circuit Judge Henry “Sonny” Reagan granted the request.

“This cause coming before the court upon the plaintiffs’ motion to dismiss and the defendants having no objection to the same, said motion is hereby granted,” the order reads.

But the AHSAA had intended to object to the dismissal according to its attorney Jim Williams.

“We received a motion to dismiss filed by plaintiff’s attorney today,” Williams said in an emailed statement. “Before we had an opportunity to file an objection, an order was entered by the court dismissing this case.  We did not consent to the dismissal.  The association will discuss its options at its next scheduled board meeting.”

A hearing was scheduled for Friday to determine whether a change of venue was necessary for the case and whether the case should be dismissed. A hearing on whether the AHSAA acted wrongfully in their ruling against Davenport was scheduled for Feb. 25 and Feb. 26.

Before the Trojans lost, it was the AHSAA that had filed a motion to dismiss the case, but the Davenports had objected.

Cole said he does not know how the dismissal of the case will affect the games that Davenport has played in since being reinstated under a temporary injunction.

“I do not know how this would affect that situation,” Cole said. “I hope things stand as they are now, but as a practical matter, the season has ended and they didn’t win a championship, so there’s nothing really to take away from Maori. I don’t think it is worth the court’s time to burden the court and waste judicial resources by continuing forward and that made up much of my decision to file a motion to dismiss. We feel like we won because Maori was able to finish the season with her teammates on the court.”

Davenport’s case gained national attention after the AHSAA ruled the senior ineligible on Nov. 30 for accepting a stipend check of $857.20 from USA Basketball for her participation on the Under-18 team in Mexico over the summer, helping the team win a gold medal.

The check had been received and accepted in August after the Davenports say an official with Team USA told them the check was permissible. USA Basketball has accepted culpability in the incident. State legislators have also lent support to Davenport, signing a petition for her reinstatement and threatening to pass a bill that gives the government some oversight of the organization.

Two AHSAA boards unanimously blocked appeals by CHHS to reinstate Davenport.

Reagan issued a temporary injunction on Jan. 11 allowing Davenport to play again while awaiting a hearing to determine whether the ruling was justified.