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TSSAA sues Arlington school after girls basketball team allowed to play in playoffs

Published: Sep. 10, 2021 at 4:42 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association is suing Arlington High School.

It stems from last season’s girls basketball playoffs.

During last school year, TSSAA banned the team from the postseason after a rival’s head coach was allegedly assaulted by the son of Arlington’s coach following a game, and he reportedly left in a car full of AHS players, according to the association’s investigation.

TSSAA said Arlington violated the association’s bylaws and placed the team on a two-year probation.

The families of several students quickly filed a lawsuit, and a state court stepped in with a restraining order against TSSAA allowing Arlington to play. The judge called the students third-party beneficiaries who have standing to claim breach of contract with TSSAA because the organization held no hearing before issuing its decision.

In TSSAA’s suit, they say membership is open only to schools, not student-athletes, and treating students as third-party beneficiaries in TSSAA is inconsistent with Tennessee law.

The suit is asking the court to declare that the students in the original lawsuit are not third-party beneficiaries and they do not have standing to sue for breach of the membership contract between TSSAA and AHS.

The suit is also asking the court to declare student participation in interscholastic athletics is a privilege and not a constitutional right or property interest to which due process is attached.

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