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Student athlete files suit to challenge suspension

We often discuss the numerous challenges students face in the classroom when it comes to complying with school policies. These policies are not always administered fairly or consistently, and there can be differences in how people interpret them. 

However, these issues don't stop once a student leaves the classroom. As one recent case in another state should remind readers here in Florida, student athletes can face similar obstacles in their chosen sport.

The case involves a high school football captain who is currently on a four-game suspension after a controversial call during his team's last regular season game. 

According to reports, the senior captain tackled the opponent's quarterback with a blindside hit after he had thrown the football. Officials called the hit targeting, which is a flagrant foul, and ejected the player. 

Because this was his second suspension in the season a one-game suspension extended into a four-game suspension.

Challenging the call

The player and his parents argue that the officials' call that the hit was flagrant was unfair. They say they have video to back up their claims that the hit did not meet the National Federation of State High School Association's definition of targeting.

The student requested a review of the play in an effort to seek reinstatement, but the High School League executive director denied it, saying that decisions by officials are final.

Not only are there questions about the call, but there are issues with the fact that the rulings by contest officials are final. This, the player and his family argues, is unfair and capable of causing irreparable damage to a player's performance and future in the sport.

As such, the player and his parents are taking the matter to court. They are hoping for an injunction and restoration of the student's eligibility to get back on the field.

What to know in similar cases

This case can be a reminder that the futures of students can rest in the hands of imperfect people and organizations, and not just inside the school. When there is reason to challenge a decision that has a significant impact on a student and his or her academic or athletic opportunities, it could take legal action to secure a fair outcome.

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