Lawsuit filed as pressure to allow Maori Davenport to play builds

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Troy, AL (WTVY) A lawsuit filed against the Alabama High School Athletic Association seeks the reinstatement of Charles Henderson High School basketball star Maori Davenport.

Pike County court records confirm the suit though a complaint listing its basis and what, if anything, is sought beyond reinstatement still wasn't available as of Friday morning. The suit is also confirmed in a tweet from the Cole Law firm in Decatur, Alabama that represents the Davenport family.

Since late November, Davenport has been unable to play in her senior season because of a disputed eligibility ruling that stems from a mistaken payment that AHSAA claims makes her ineligible.

Over the summer Davenport played for the gold medal-winning USA Basketball team in the FIBA Under-18 Women’s Americas Championship. USA Basketball mistakenly sent her a check for $857.20 to cover travel and incidentals.

Davenport and her family said when they learned she might have violated regulations they returned the money to USA.

However, the AHSAA said accepting the payment, even though returned, violates regulations regarding amateur play and ruled her ineligible. In a statement, the association also points out Davenport waited three months after cashing the check to return the payment.

Pressure continues to mount on the association to reconsider and Davenport's plight is now receiving national attention from major networks like ESPN. Even NBA legend Kobe Bryant and tennis great Billie Jean King want Davenport reinstated.

Alabama lawmakers, angered by the drama, are preparing a bill that would strip the association of its powers. However, the legislation cannot be considered until March when the next sessions begins. By then, Davenport's plight would be mostly moot since the season would be ending.

The association, so far, is standing by its controversial decision even though USA Basketball takes full responsibility for the snafu.

Davenport is headed to Rutgers University after she graduates from Charles Henderson High in May and that could be the next time she plays.

Pike County Circuit Judge Thomas Head is assigned to the lawsuit. A hearing date hasn't been set.