A Clarkston High School student who was ruled ineligible to play high school basketball after transferring from Dakota High School is suing the Michigan High School Athletic Association and his former school.
Thomas Kithier is in his senior year, and has committed to play for the Michigan State Spartans next year. His lawsuit contends Dakota violated both his 14th Amendment rights and the Civil Rights Act in how they withheld their approval of a transfer form that would have allowed him to play basketball for Clarkston.
Dakota contends Kithier transferred for athletic reasons. However, Kithier's lawsuit contends that not true and says he transferred for academic reasons - specifically that Dakota did not offer a math class that he needed, as well as classes in media production.
Kithier is seeking injunctive relief that would allow him to play basketball beginning in January, as well as $75,000 in damages because of defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress claims.
The Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (MIAAA) has released the following statement, following news that the suit has been filed:
In light of recent highly-publicized eligibility matters gaining attention in our state, the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (MIAAA) is offering its full support to the Michigan High School Athletic Association in its continued enforcement of the rules and regulations that schools must follow each year when the individual school’s Board of Education votes to become a voluntary member of the MHSAA.
Each school and its designated administrator has the duty to follow and support the rules as written. The MIAAA has a strong role in crafting MHSAA regulations which are reviewed, updated and adopted annually by all member schools. All parts of the MHSAA transfer rule including the Athletic Motivated Regulation are part of a body of rules which schools agree to adopt as their own each year. The MIAAA strongly supports this rule and other rules that discourage students from changing schools because of sports.
Athletic Administrators throughout the state and nation are entrusted to make sure they model for the student-athletes by upholding ethical behavior, enforcing written rules, and supporting policies and procedures agreed to in advance. It is the role of Administrators to be the guardians of fair play, sportsmanship, level playing fields and ethical behavior. The MIAAA and the MHSAA share these basic beliefs for all student-athletes of Michigan.
The two organizations work in concert with each other in all areas. The MIAAA has representation on all MHSAA committees and is provided multiple opportunities to provide input on proposed MHSAA rule and regulation changes. The MIAAA, with more than 500 members, is an active contributor to the MHSAA annually.
The MIAAA is a voluntary professional organization for all Athletic Administrators of schools in Michigan. The Association is a 501(c)(3) organization working to provide professional development, leadership, and networking opportunities to any person working in school Athletic Departments.