U.S. Eighth Circuit - The FindLaw 8th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Mom Files Federal Lawsuit After Son Cut From Varsity Soccer

Not making the varsity squad for any high schooler can be tough. But when that high schooler's mom files a federal lawsuit over it ... that's just unbelievable.

But believe it or not, that's just what happened at St. Louis' Ladue High School when one junior didn't make the varsity soccer team, and then was also excluded from the junior varsity team. While this might seem to defy ordinary logic, the school pointed to an established policy, but then the mother pointed to Title IX. The school didn't agree with the parent, and a lawsuit followed.

Equal Treatment for All Student Athletes

According to the school's policy, if a junior tries out for the varsity boys' soccer team and doesn't make the cut, they cannot then try out for the junior varsity team. The policy is intended to encourage the younger players by giving them more of an opportunity to practice, play, improve, and prepare to try out for varsity themselves.

However, one particular problem with the policy is that it, allegedly, only applies to the boys' team. Nevertheless, recently, the federal court hearing the matter denied a temporary injunction to place the boy on the team, explaining that there was no legal harm, and that interscholastic sports are not a right, but rather merely a privilege.

The judge also saw merit in the school's policy of maintaining the JV team for younger players to develop and prepare for varsity, explaining that forcing the boy onto the team would undermine the program.

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