Maori Davenport Ruled Ineligible In H.S. Due To Mistake By USA Basketball

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#6
The most in-depth article thus far on this sad predicament, by Jay Bilas:

The maddening case of Maori Davenport and Steve Savarese

Bilas interviewed the executive director of the Alabama high school state athletic association:

His tone changed. Savarese said, "The lesson to be learned here is for the adults that have the responsibility to inform the student-athlete of the rules. It is the responsibility of other parties, school officials, USA Basketball who only had to make a phone call, and her mom who is an assistant coach. She should know better. We work with outside agencies all the time. We work with Nike. All USA Basketball had to do was make a phone call."​
Savarese continued, and his tone became more stern. "My charge is to uphold the rules. What if I said 'no'? What if I let her play? If I make an exception to one rule, it opens up a Pandora's box on all of our rules. How could I enforce any rule? If I made an exception here, I would be arbitrary and capricious."​
 
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#7
Someone suggested that the team should let her play, thus forfeiting each game, but letting her have her senior year.
However I have no idea if the team is in contention for a Championship because if they are, then would the forfeits be fair to her teammates?
 
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Coler

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#10
Someone suggested that the team should let her play, thus forfeiting each game, but letting her have her senior year.
However I have no idea if the team is in contention for a Championship because if they are, then would the forfeits be fair to her teammates?
I believe they won a state championship last year, although she was a huge part of that. They were poised to compete for another this year. Maori was also the front-runner for Alabama Miss Basketball.
 

CocoHusky

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#11
I believe they won a state championship last year, although she was a huge part of that. They were poised to compete for another this year. Maori was also the front-runner for Alabama Miss Basketball.
Not playing also makes he ineligible for all the post season All-Star games like McDonalds AA and Jordan Brand.
 

Sifaka

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#12
USA Basketball made a mistake. They became aware of the mistake, and took reasonable steps to correct it. Mr. Savarese and the Alabama High School Athletic Assoc. therefore punished the student. This was done to uphold and defend the sanctity of "The Rules". Defending The Rules is clearly the most important thing
the AHSAA can do, for the benefit of Mr. Savarese's job security, regardless of any harm to the student or to high school athletics in Alabama.

One might draw many conclusions from this pitiful chain of events, among which...

1) expletives deleted

2) The Gods were so expletives deleted at AL that they smiled upon a land grant school from SC last night.

3) Mr. Savarese and the entire "leadership" of e AHSAA are auditioning for positions in the former Soviet Union, administering a five year plan to increase the velcro crop in Murmansk.
 
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#13
Alabama is circling the wagons in now and/or issuing statements to make this a "these are the laws and we're just following them" scenario.

In this talk with Jay Bilas, AHSAA Exec. Director stated that decisions in these kinds of matters fall on him:

"I (Bilas) asked exactly who makes the decision on an eligibility case. He replied, "I do." I asked if it was his sole discretion. He said, "Yes. I decide all such cases. I am the absolute authority in these cases."

So, theoretically, Mr. Savarese could determine if there was some leeway and/or if the laws in a scenario were not applied correctly.

However, in an article penned by Walter Villa of ESPNw, Johnny Hardin, president of the central board of control of the Alabama High School Sports Association, on Monday released a statement defending the organization's decision to suspend Maori Davenport for the entirety of her senior season.

In that release, Hardin narrowed Mr. Savarese's initial all-encompassing power statement to that of a guy who needs to follow the A, B's and C's of the policy. Period.

"Steve Savarese, as AHSAA Executive Director, made the eligibility ruling based upon the plain language of the Amateur Rule. As Executive Director, Mr. Savarese does not have the authority to change a rule. Rather, as Executive Director, his job is to apply the rules as written," Hardin said. ...

OK, maybe Hardin is trying to minimize an employee's culpability, but it does not in any way make the entire organization's mission look like it exists for anything but it's own existence: rules for rules' sake.

And then to try to cast aspersions on everyone else? So much for the adults in the room.


AHSAA defends Maori Davenport suspension in new statement
 
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#14
Maybe if she reneges on the RU commitment and decides to sign with the Irish, she will become eligible...it works when you’re already in college, maybe it will work for HS....
Ah, DefenseBB, in your haste to find a target worthy of your snarkiness, you went for an apples and oranges reach, when -- in fact -- there was a ND connection to this story in the here and now.

To wit: ND recruit Anaya Peoples also played on that team and also received a check from USA Basketball . According to an ESPNw article":
"Last summer, she (Davenport) was one of three players with remaining high school eligibility selected for the USA Basketball U18 team. All three players were sent checks after the competition, USA Basketball spokesman Craig Miller said.
Notre Dame recruit Anaya Peoples of Schlarman Academy (Danville, Illinois) repaid the money to USA Basketball and her eligibility was restored, Miller said."
(Dillon input: BTW, the third player was Aliyah Blackwell of Missouri, who will retain her HS eligibility if and when she returns the check/funds from the check.)

In a Washington Post article on this, Johnny Hardin, president of the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s Central Board of Control also cited Ms. Peoples.

"Hardin pointed out that another high school student in Illinois, Notre Dame recruit Anaya Peoples, called her high school after receiving the money from USA Basketball and returned it without cashing or depositing the check. She remained eligible."

There are differing opinions between Miller and Hardin as to whether the expense check was cashed, but what is very apparent is that Peoples informed authorities of the check. And, perhaps most importantly, the Illinois High School Athletic Association showed some common sense in diffusing the situation.

Unless of course, you think they called the NCAA transfer review board....:rolleyes:;)
 
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#15
This is just plain stupid! Savarese works for somebody. The Davenport family needs to escalate until they find a reasonable adult, lawyer up if necessary, and make the case via social media quickly.[/QUOTE]

Well put. Savarese does work for someone, one Johnny Hardin, and he double down on behalf of Savarese, the organization and the the ruling. In fact, he cited the cases of Anaya Peoples and Aliyah Blackwell -- who were also sent expense checks -- as supporting points to his argument that Alabama is in the right. (Of course what it says to me is that Illinois comparable oversight committees have a lot more common-sense approach to sport oversight in this instance.) And of course, the adults involved should've known better.

Rules can be amended, but only at regular intervals, according to Mr. Hardin, which won't do Ms. Davenport any good.

Seems like a lawyer is needed....

AHSAA News | Statement by AHSAA Central Board of Control Presiden
 
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#16
I heard Lobo talking about it. She received a check from USA basketball, cashed it and played.
 
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#17
It sounds like a very odd situation and a sad one overall. I wonder if there isn't more to it with the Alabama association.

State associations have a tough job now since most of the "top" athletes in all sports participate in leagues, travel tournaments, and the issue of amateurism can get a little sticky. I'm all about enforcing the rules if a coach or school messes up but in this case it appears the player didn't really do anything to deserve the punishment and it hurts her and the team. Of course she will still have college ball at RU but it seems unfair to prevent her from playing this season to prove a point.

I'm sure the association is catching a ton of flack for the decision but it doesn't sound like they plan to budge.
 
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#19
If this would have happened to a young man and that young man played high school football in Alabama, the athletic association, well Mr. Savarese, would have looked the other way or made an exception in order for the player to play. To show us how messed up this situation is, the NCAA, which we know how messed up they can be at times, isn't even going to allow this clerical error to impact her eligibility!!


Sad on some many levels. Mr. Saverese should read a book (great book by the way) by Joe Ehrmann "Inside Out Coaching". In the book, Joe talks about two kinds of coaches: The transactional kind, who are in it for themselves and all of the money and power that comes with the coaching position, and the transformational kind, who are motivated to positively impact the lives of young people. Yes. I know Saverese is not a coach but this applies to this situation as well. He has placed himself in the "transactional kind". I swear folks lack common sense.
 

DefenseBB

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#20
Ah, DefenseBB, in your haste to find a target worthy of your snarkiness, you went for an apples and oranges reach, when -- in fact -- there was a ND connection to this story in the here and now.

To wit: ND recruit Anaya Peoples also played on that team and also received a check from USA Basketball . According to an ESPNw article":...."Hardin pointed out that another high school student in Illinois, Notre Dame recruit Anaya Peoples, called her high school after receiving the money from USA Basketball and returned it without cashing or depositing the check. She remained eligible."

Unless of course, you think they called the NCAA transfer review board....:rolleyes:;)
Some have called me prescient...:D (green emoji just for you!)
 

oldude

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#21
What about my question if she had decided to attend Bama in stead of Rutgers?
 
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#22
It sounds like a very odd situation and a sad one overall. I wonder if there isn't more to it with the Alabama association.
I can't help but wonder either. This is one of those situations where I feel like there are only two possibilities: either they're (a) corrupt or (b) total morons.

You know it's a bad situation when the best-case scenario is you're dealing with total morons.
 

oldude

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#23
Savarese has been involved in Alabama HS sports for 50 years as a coach, teacher, administrator, etc. That likely puts him in his 70’s. When he started out the only girls sport at most Alabama HS’s was probably cheerleading. There was no Title 9, AAU basketball or Olympic and international basketball for women.

Not all 70 year old men are living in the Stone Age, but it certainly appears this guy is.
 

oldude

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#25
Entirely possible, although Savarese is a NY native and attended college in Kansas at Southwestern College and Wichita State.
AHSFHS.org - Alabama High School Football Coaches
I appreciate the information. While Savarese was born in Glencoe, NY, it appears that he grew up in Leeds, AL, went to school in KS, where he coached for several years before returning to AL, where he’s been for many years.

He appears to be dug in on this issue. It’s either out of fear, ignorance or some other unacceptable reason. The national publicity that AL is receiving on this issue is not desirable
 

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