By CAROLINE BECK, Alabama Daily News
Circuit Court Judge Sonny Reagan has issued an emergency order to restore Maori Davenport’s eligibility to play on her high school’s basketball team, the Charles Henderson Lady Trojans at tonights game. This will be the first time Davenport has been able to play in an AHSAA sanctioned game since the organization ruled her ineligible in November.
This entire debacle began when Davenport was ruled ineligible after receiving an $857.20 check from USA Basketball for “lost wages” after she played for the team in a tournament last summer. That ran afoul of the AHSAA’s amateur play rule, though by all accounts the mistake was inadvertent and the money was repaid.
Now pending a hearing before a judge, Davenport is able to play against Ozark’s Carroll High School in Troy tonight.
The good news recieved today will no doubt please many around the country whom after hearing about the suspension have been voicing their outrage at the situation. The case simmered locally in Troy during the month of December then became a national story when ESPN’s Jay Bilas called the AHSAA and Executive Director Steve Saverese to task on air for not using fairness and common sense in applying the rules.
Davenport was also seen recently at the state house this week, talking with top legislators like Lt. Gov.-elect Will Ainsworth and President Pro Tem Del Marsh, both of whom have advocated for her to be reinstated by the Alabama High School Athletic Association. She also sat in the Speaker’s chair, alongside her local Rep. Wes Allen and Troy Mayor Jason Reeves.
Caroline Beck is a reporter living in Montgomery. You can reach her at Caroline@aldailynews.com or follow her on Twitter @CarolineBeckADN.