Michigan State University basketball recruit Thomas Kithier filed suit on Friday in the Detroit federal court against the Michigan High School Athletic Association, Chippewa Valley Schools and administrators of both organizations after being ruled ineligible to play Dec. 7.
According to the South Bend Tribune, Kithier was ruled ineligible by the MHSAA due to his offseason transfer to Clarkston High School, which was determined by administrators to have been “athletically motivated.”
Kithier is said to have violated the MHSAA’s link rule by joining another MSU basketball recruit, Foster Loyer, at Clarkston. The link rule is designed to prevent players from transferring to a school where a relationship has been established within the past year.
According to the Tribune, Kithier’s transfer upset administrators from his previous school Macomb Dakota, who alerted the MHSAA to the violation and refused to sign the necessary transfer forms.
Kithier’s lawsuit accuses the MHSAA of discouraging officials from Macomb Dakota from signing an educational transfer form, despite Kithier’s continued assertion that he transferred to Clarkston for academic reasons.
The suit further alleges that the athletics staff at Macomb Dakota behaved inappropriately toward Kithier after his decision to leave the school, and claims that the decision was made in an attempt to escape a negative environment and inadequate academics.
The suit reads, “In addition to academics, the athletic staff bullied Plaintiff when: (a) the basketball coach Paul Tocco sent inappropriate texts to him regarding his decision to leave Macomb Dakota; and (b) other members of the athletic staff behaved inappropriately and unprofessionally toward him.”
Attorneys for Kithier are asking for reinstatement by Jan. 15, as well as punitive damages and compensations under charges of bullying and civil conspiracy.