A lawsuit regarding two Ohio high school football players is scheduled to go to trial. The lawsuit will determine whether the boys are allowed to play for the rest of this year's football season. Both were suspended after admitting to consuming alcohol at a party where a fellow player was found dead.
The players' attorney filed a lawsuit shortly after the suspension in efforts to have it reversed. The players' school recently implemented a new conduct code, approved four days before the party, that made the penalty for alcohol offenses more severe. While the old code suspended student athletes for 20 percent of their games, the new version increases the penalty to 50 percent. He also claimed that four other student athletes were only suspended for 20 percent of their seasons, despite having committed the same offense.
A federal judge has ordered that briefs be submitted by the parents of the students as well as the city school system. A Common Pleas judge previously ruled that the suspensions be lifted, explaining that the school violated the players' rights of due process by failing to appropriately notify parents and students of the new code of conduct. This allowed the players to participate in their team's most recent game, although neither of them actually played.
Following the ruling, the school district sought an emergency hearing with a federal judge. If the new judge sides with the students, they would be free to play for the rest of the season. The school board plans to discuss the case in a special executive meeting.
Source: Zanesville Times Recorder, "Hearing scheduled next week for football lawsuit," Sept. 20, 2011