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Local athletic director react to punishment of star basketball player

Local politicians in Limestone County have also reached out to Maori Davenport

Posted: Jan. 9, 2019 8:53 PM
Updated: Jan. 10, 2019 10:16 AM

A story picked up by ESPN is unfolding in Alabama. Star athlete Maori Davenport won't get to play her senior season after a clerical error by USA basketball.

USA Basketball took the blame and informed the Alabama High School Athletic Association. But the state body then ruled her ineligible something people across the country can't believe.

Now, state lawmakers are getting involved. The athletic director for Limestone County schools Rusty Bates said the talk of Maori Davenport has been popular around town. Many fans of her are very upset she's not allowed to play basketball.

"I hate it for the student, because our student athletes depend upon organizations like USA Basketball to take care of those situations ahead of time. It's sad that this situation has happened," said Rusty Bates.

That was Rusty Bates' reaction when he heard Maori Davenport was declared ineligible by the AHSAA and no longer allowed to play basketball at her high school. She's considered one of the best in the country and has signed to play with Rutgers University.

He also said Limestone County coaches are talking to their players about accepting stipends from organizations like USA Basketball.

"They understand if you're a student athlete in the state of Alabama, you can't accept anything," Bates said.

Lawmakers are considering a bill that would require the state board of education to give final approval, when the association declares a player ineligible. Bates said he wants to see Davenport play basketball again. He wants the AHSAA to stay consistent with all players who make mistakes.

"When the ruling came down, it was appealed to the central board twice and both times they upheld the suspension. Those are the people who represent her school, our school and all of the other school's surrounding the state of Alabama. They're all represented by someone on that board," Bates said.

Rusty Bates also said local politicians in Limestone County have reached out to support Davenport. WAAY 31 reached out to the Alabama Board of Education and are still waiting to hear back.

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