AHSAA makes changes to Amateurism rule

Published 8:42 pm Friday, April 12, 2019

The Alabama High School Athletic Association made a change to its amateur rule this week.

The AHSAA Central Board of Control approved and the Legislative Council ratified the change to the AHSAA Amateur Rule on Wednesday. Although the restrictions of the rule itself have not changed, the Central Board of Control will now have more flexibility when considering the consequences resulting from a violation.

The new rule reads “A student who has lost his/her amateur standing may be reinstated after the lapse of one high school season or until reinstated by the Central Board of Control for the sport in which he/she has become professional provided he/she has not persisted in breaking the amateur rule.”

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The Amateur Rule was introuduced to many in recent months when The AHSAA ruled Charles Henderson senior Maori Davenport ineligible on November 30, 2018 after discovering she had accepted an $857.20 stipend check from USA Basketball for her time playing with the Under-18 team in Mexico over the summer,.
Charles Henderson officials appealed the ruling twice to the District 2 board and Central Board of Control, arguing that she was mistakenly sent the check from USA basketball and that Davenport accepted the check only after getting confirmation from USA basketball that it would not violate any rules that would make her ineligible.

Many prominent athletes and media personalities went to the defense of Davenport. ESPN’s Jay Bilas spoke out in Davenport’s behalf and NBA players including Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul came to the senior’s defense on Twitter.

The Davenport family later tried to sue the AHSAA along with director Steve Savarese and Pike Count Circuit Court Judge Sonny Reagan issued a temporary restraining order that allowed Davenport to play.

During and after her suspension, Davenport talked about future athletes and how she hoped her experience would help them. According to Davenport the rule change made her trials worth it.

“It makes everything worth it,” Davenport said. “It kind of makes me feel ecstatic.”

The proposed rule change was submitted by eight schools including Opelika, Piedmont, Spanish Fort, Decatur, Helena, Saint James, Hamilton and Hartselle.

“The AHSAA’s member schools and Central Board are constantly reviewing and improving the AHSAA by-laws, rules and regulations through this tried-and-true democratic process,” Savarese said in his press release. “We have full confidence in our member schools’ ability to govern themselves as they have shown so aptly since the AHSAA’s formation in 1921.”

Despite the adversity that followed her last stint with Team USA basketball, Davenport spent a weekend down in Tampa Bay, site of the Women’s Final Four, working out in a junior national team 3-on-3 mini camp.

“That was a lot of fun,” Davenport said. “I met some of the greatest WNBA players that have ever played the game.”

Davenport will attend and play basketball at Rutgers University next season. She hopes to get a head start this summer and begin taking classes.