High School Basketball Players With Learning Disability Denied Senior Season

A high school basketball player with a learning disability is denied his senior season.

Law 308 Ab One of the biggest issues facing state high school activities associations is how to review cases involving high school athletes with physical or mental disabilities. For example, activities associations have created a number of rules designed to protect the health and safety of athletes, as well as to ensure fair competition. These include red-shirting regulations, age limitations and restrictions on the number of semesters an athlete can participate in high school athletics. However, with the enactment of federal disabilities legislation, those associations are finding that the line between lawful refusal to extend athletic eligibility requirements and illegal discrimination against individuals with disabilities is getting more blurred all the time. A case study of the issues involved is Newsome v. Mississippi High School Activities Association [2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88478]. Jeremy Newsome was a 19-year-old recent transfer to Nettleton High School when he was diagnosed with a learning disability early in his senior year. As a result of this diagnosis, district administrators, together with his teachers and parents, developed an Individual Education Plan (IEP), as required under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Like most federal disabilities laws, the purpose of the IDEA is to increase the educational opportunities available to students with disabilities by providing them free, public education designed to meet their specific needs. In addition to providing students with the same educational opportunities available to other students, the IDEA also requires educational agencies to provide students with disabilities the same nonacademic and extracurricular activities and services [34 C.F.R. ยง 300.306(a)]. In developing Newsome's IEP, the Nettleton School District recommended that Newsome be allowed to play basketball at Nettleton, as he had at his previous school. The problem, however, at least according to the MHSAA, was that Newsome was regarded as a talented player on the varsity team at his previous high school. Consequently, the MHSAA determined that Newsome's transfer was for athletic reasons and ruled that he was ineligible to play basketball. Newsome sought a temporary restraining order to compel the MHSAA to permit him to play varsity basketball at Nettleton High School. For the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi to grant Newsome's request, it held that he must meet the standard set forth by the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit in Canal Authority of Florida v. Callaway [489 F.2d 567, 572 (5th Cir. 1974)]. Under the Canal Authority test, the court held that Newsome would have to demonstrate that:

Log in to view the full article
Buyer's Guide
Information on more than 3,000 companies, sorted by category. Listings are updated daily.
Learn More
Buyer's Guide
AB Show 2023 in Baltimore
AB Show is a solution-focused event for athletics, fitness, recreation and military professionals.
Nov 1-4, 2023
Learn More
AB Show 2023