State Legislators Call for Davenport Reinstatement

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Count the Alabama House of Representatives among those calling for the state’s high school athletic association to reinstate star basketball player Maori Davenport.

Davenport, a senior at Charles Henderson High School who intends to play her college ball at Rutgers, has been ruled ineligible for her senior season over an incident stemming from her involvement in a USA Basketball event. Davenport was mistakenly sent a payment of $857 by the organization for her participation on a U18 national team, in a practice that is generally allowed by the NCAA, but up to the discretion of each individual state’s high school athletic governing body. After realizing the error, USA Basketball reached out to the AHSAA, the check was returned, but Davenport was still deemed to have violated the rule. The punishment: a one-year suspension.

A chorus of criticism erupted from national media, to which the AHSAA responded. But now, reports that the issue has entered the political sphere, as 77 Republicans in the state house have called for the AHSAA to reverse course and allow Davenport to play her senior season.

In a press release, the House Republican caucus announced that it had passed a resolution supporting Davenport’s reinstatement, and allowing her to play immediately. House Democrats are also united in their support for Davenport.

“After Maori Davenport appeared before our Caucus and very eloquently explained her situation, the 77 Republican members of the Alabama House stand ready to help her regain her eligibility in any way that we can,” House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter said in the release. “Without exception, our legislators urge the AHSAA to immediately reinstate this impressive young woman who simply wanted to represent our country on an international level.”

House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels echoed the sentiments of the majority, saying “I urge the board and the leadership of the Alabama High School Athletic Association to really reconsider this situation.”

The House may consider bipartisan legislation that would allow for more government oversight of the AHSAA as a result of the Davenport debacle.

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