MHSAA preparing for “worst case” scenario

Published 9:00 am Friday, August 20, 2004

By By SCOTT NOVAK / Vigilant/Argus
STEVENSVILLE - Even though the plan is to appeal to the highest court that will hear the case, the Michigan High School Athletic Association is preparing for the worst.
John E. "Jack" Roberts, executive director of the MHSAA, said Wednesday at the Fireside Inn Restaurant, that the state has been preparing for the "worst case" scenario.
Roberts said that the state will keep planning for a future in which basketball and volleyball seasons are switched, if not others.
Roberts wants the MHSAA to have a plan in place by then for the post season tournaments.
Not all of the details will be worked out by then, however, his hopes is that the association can at least give its member schools an idea of when each post season tournament will be held with realigned seasons.
That doesn't mean that the MHSAA is giving up all hope that it can still win its legal battle.
The MHSAA will be requesting an "en banc" hearing by the United States Court of Appeals Sixth Circuit.
The original ruling, which was handed down on July 27, was delivered by three of 13 judges.
The "en banc" hearing would require all 13 judges.
The MHSAA is no stranger to an "en banc" hearing. The MHSAA got the Sixth Circuit to reverse a decision in 1996 involving a student seeking eligibility beyond eight semesters using the Americans With Disabilities Act.
That case, like the current litigation, has the state trying to "…defend the schools' privilege to make policy," Roberts said.
Roberts said that ending litigation now would not make things any easier for the MHSAA and its member schools, but would open up schools to more litigation.