Mary Ann and Celine Seger and attorney Teddy Gordon
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Merit-based scholarships are preventing some Louisville students from playing the sports they love, according to a Louisville attorney.
Teddy Gordon says the Kentucky High School Athletic Association rule known as "Bylaw 13" was set up to stop some Catholic schools from recruiting top football and basketball players.
"It defies common sense and it's absurd," Gordon said.
Putting Roman Catholic in the rule, Gordon says, is discrimination. "When's it going to end?" he asked," Baptist, Jewish, Muslim?"
It's an argument Gordon wants the U.S. Supreme Court to hear. He represents parents of three Presentation Academy students who, because of "Bylaw 13," are denied 75-percent of their academic scholarship if they chose to play sports.
"I'm notified by the school that she's no longer eligible to receive that scholarship and participate in KHSAA sports," complained Presentation parent Mary Ann Seger. "That was huge!"
Seger's two daughters were faced with the problem. 17-year-old Celine Seger had to give up track, a sport she loved because her parents had medical bills and other financial issues and couldn't afford to lose 75-percent of her Mason Scholar Award under the rule.
"Not being able to play a sport during that season, it's really hard for me because it's harder for me to stay focused," Celine said.
The only sport Celine was allowed to take part in was field hockey because it's not a state sanctioned sport. Gordon complains the rule was set up to prevent Catholic schools like St. X, Trinity and Lexington Catholic from illegal recruiting for football and basketball from public schools.
Gordon maintains those students get financial aid based on need, while athletes who are great in the classroom are getting penalized.
Gordon told WAVE 3 News, "It's very important to understand that we have need-based athletes that get a free golden ticket that there's no transparency or review. They can have a 2.0 grade average and play all the basketball and football they want and there's no limitation to their scholarship and there's no review to the money they receive."
Gordon said he has great respect for the coaches at schools like Trinity High but posed this question to reporters: "Can we honestly question if there were any need-based athletes on the team that just won the state championship on Saturday night? Isn't that a fair question to ask?"
KHSAA tells WAVE 3 News, it is confident in the first ruling. But a spokesperson said they can't really discuss it until they know whether the Supreme Court will hear Gordon's case.
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