District Sues TSSAA Over Players Ruled Ineligible

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The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tennessee)


Shelby County Schools announced on Tuesday that it filed a lawsuit against the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association on behalf of East High, seeking to overturn a ruling that declared basketball players Ryan Boyce and James Wiseman ineligible for the 2017-18 season.

According to an SCS news release, the petition seeks a temporary restraining order "in order to preserve the privileges and rights of East High School and its students." The release referred to the students as R.B. and J.W.

The release did not state where the suit was filed.

"TSSAA has continued an unlawful practice of acting arbitrarily and capricious and behind close doors," SCS general counsel Rodney G. Moore said. "These secret TSSAA meetings, that rely almost exclusively on rumor and innuendo, deprive schools, students and their families of basic fairness."

On Monday, the state's governing body for high school athletics denied an appeal that deemed the players ineligible due to a violation of the state's "prior link" coaching rule.

Boyce, who has signed with UAB, and Wiseman, one of the top national prospects in the class of 2019, transferred to East after playing for the Team Penny program over the summer.

Team Penny was founded by Penny Hardaway, who is East's head coach. The 6-5 Boyce played at Houston last year while the 6-11 Wiseman transferred in from Ensworth.

"I have serious concerns about the ruling, the precedent it sets and the unfettered discretion that the TSSAA has over students and their futures," SCS superintendent Dorsey Hopson said.

"In light of these concerns, we will ask the court to overturn the TSSAA's decision and operate under clear rules that protect our students."

TSSAA executive director Bernard Childress said he had not seen the suit and had no comment.

Reach John Varlas at john.varlas @commercialappeal.com or on Twitter @johnvarlas.

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November 22, 2017


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