AHSAA, Elba win big in eligibility case


MOBILE, AL (WNSP) — The AHSAA and Elba High School both won big.

Late Monday afternoon, the Court ruled to uphold the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s decision to rule a Washington County player ineligible, thus knocking the Bulldogs out of the playoffs. The Elba Tigers beat Samson 48-20 in the delayed game.

“We are glad to have this matter resolved and on behalf of all our member schools we greatly appreciate the State Supreme Court for ruling so quickly,” AHSAA executive director Steve Savarese said in a news release. “The playoffs will now continue with remaining games to be played according to the playoff schedule.”

According to AL.com’s Ben Thomas, the Supreme Court declared the conflicting orders from the Washington and Geneva Circuit “null and void in the matter.”

“IT IS HEREBY DECLARED that the Orders of the Washington Circuit Court and the Geneva Circuit Court are null and void,” the Supreme Court ruling reads. “The decision of the Alabama High School Athletic Association shall stand.”

The orders were submitted on Thursday, but due to Veterans’ Day, the Court did not make a ruling until Monday. That afternoon, the AHSAA announced the game, and that night, Elba played the winner by forfeit, Samson.

“We are very pleased and grateful that the court timely considered this and made a decision so that the playoffs can go forward and everyone can get back on the schedule and compete the playoffs,” AHSAA lawyer Jim Williams told AL.com. “I think it is a great result for the AHSAA because the schools do make the rules. Any school can change a rule and this has been a long-standing rule that has been interpreted the same way for over 40 years. So I feel like this is the appropriate result.”

Williams said the case, which centered around one particular student transferring to a correctional facility, is nothing new.

“There have been multiple situations where a student has either been transferred to a similar facility,” Williams told AL.com. “The student was declared delinquent by the court and sent to another facility. That facility was a school. He got grades there. As a result, he is not eligible. The rule has never been applied any other way. This is a long-standing rule that has been interpreted the same way for 40 years.”

Elba will play Aliceville in the next round of games this weekend. For the second time, Samson’s season is over.

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