MIAMI (CBS4) – A South Florida high school basketball star plans to continue his fight in court so that he and his team mates can compete in the district playoffs.
Tuesday morning the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) upheld a previous decision to declare Dr. Michael Krop Senior High’s Brian Delancy, 19, ineligible to play on the school’s team because of his immigration status.
The FHSAA, which has strict rules for foreign born students who attend school in the state, said they had not received an I-20 form for Delancy, who is a native of the Bahamas. An I-20 is a student visa which gives international students permission to attend school.
Without the form not only is Delancy ineligible to play, but according to the FHSAA 19 games he played in this season are now forfeit. Because of Tuesday’s ruling, Krop’s Lightning have been knocked out of Greater Miami Athletic Conference playoffs which begin this Thursday.
Supporters of Delancy and the team say it’s not clear why this is even an issue because federal law prohibits school districts from asking about a student’s immigration statues, yet the FHSAA requires it.
“School officials are not permitted to ask that question when a student enrolls,” said David Baron, Delancy’s lawyer.
While the door to an education is open to everyone, FHSAA officials say the door to the gym is not.
Their rules say playing on the team is a privilege, not a right and a player has to prove legal status.
“If you go up and down the rosters of teams in Dade County and you were looking for that, you would find a number of students that would be the same classification, but they’re playing on teams and why is this student being singled out,” said Baron.
In their battle to get back onto the court and into the playoffs, Delancy and two of his team mates have filed a suit against the FHSAA claiming the right to an education in the U.S. should extend to athletics as well. They will make their case before a judge Wednesday afternoon.