Maori Davenport decision leads to AHSAA oversight bill in Alabama state legislature

Photo Credit: Rutgers Athletics

The list of people that are pleased about the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s decision regarding Maori Davenport’s eligibility is not a long one.

Nowhere on the list will one see a group of Alabama state legislators, which are taking action in response to the AHSAA’s controversial edict.

State representative Kyle South announced that he drafted legislation that would give Montgomery oversight over the AHSAA. He also said that 87 of the 105 members of the Alabama House of Representatives have signed on as co-sponsors of the bill.

Rather than taking special circumstances into consideration and impartially considering the facts at hand the Alabama High School Athletic Association has created an unnecessary national controversy and callously ruled in a manner that adversely affects an innocent young woman’s eligibility.

–State Rep. Kyle South

Time and time again, the AHSAA has engaged in behavior and ruled in a manner that clearly calls for more oversight of its actions.

Among the bill’s potential caveats would be for any AHSAA rules regarding student eligibility to be cleared by the State Board of Education. It would also call for one-fourth of AHSAA board members to be appointed by the state superintendent or the state board.

AHSAA would also be subjected to an audit similar to other state agencies.

Davenport was ruled ineligible for this season after receiving an $857 stipend check from USA Basketball. Davenport played for Team USA’s U18 at the FIBA Americas in Mexico and helped in winning a gold medal.

The issue was that USA Basketball was supposed to contact Charles Henderson High School – where Davenport attends – and the AHSAA before sending the check. The AHSAA released a strongly worded statement on its website claiming the Davenports did not return the money for three months after it was received while USA Basketball says they did return the cash immediately.

Davenport will play at Rutgers in 2019.

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