Through a rapid exchange of court paperwork on Thursday afternoon, the Houston Lady Tigers played Thursday night in a volleyball sectional, losing to Stover.
Here’s what has occurred so far in a legal process that began after the Missouri State High School Activities Association pulled the HHS district title:
Judge orders temporary restraining order:
Upon consideration of the school district’s petition, the court found that the district demonstrated immediate and irreparable loss, that MSHSAA acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner failing to conduct a good faith investigation, follow their bylaws and in turn abusing its power.
The court entered the temporary restraining order enjoining MSHSAA from requiring the forfeiture of Houston’s Class 2 District 8 Volleyball Championship, reinstating the championship to Houston and resuming the scheduled state volleyball playoffs until evidence can be presented and a preliminary or permanent injunction can be heard.
The school district is required to post a $500 bond.
The volleyball team will play Stover tonight in the sectionals round of the state playoffs.
MSHSAA files suggestions Thursday afternoon in opposition of Houston R-1 School District’s request for a temporary restraining order:
In addition to citing case law, the Missouri State High School Activities Association states six reasons a temporary restraining order or any injunction would cause serious detrimental effects and harm to itself, member schools and students.
The reasons are that MSHSAA’s enforcement capabilities will be weakened, Houston would gain an unfair advantage over schools utilizing “eligible” students, MSHSAA may receive petitions from schools that lose to Houston if they are allowed to play, the “ineligible” student would displace an “eligible” player for Houston, the injunctive relief would motivate other students to act similarly causing a burden to the association and a future contradictory ruling would have severe tournament-related repercussions.
Following the revocation of its Class 2 District 8 Volleyball title, the Houston R-1 School District has sought a temporary restraining order today against the Missouri State High School Activities Association, which made the decision.
Following the school’s tournament victory, a report was filed against the team concerning an individual who played in the championship game and also participated in the Salem Memorial Hospital Mammography Volley for a Cure co-ed volleyball tournament. The fundraiser was for breast cancer prevention, according to court documents. The player’s involvement was unknown to the district and coaches, the filing said.
MSHSAA determined the team to be in violation of By-Law 3.13.2.a “Organized Non-School Competition – Same Season/Same Sport” concerning playing in the same sport and ruled a forfeiture of the championship game.
In the petition, the school argues that the fundraising tournament was a non-school competition and the participant did not wear a school uniform, she participated voluntarily and provided her own transportation.
Additionally, the school alleges that the event was not a “competition” based on the facts that the games were co-ed, nets were not standard height, accurate scoring was not maintained, there were no uniforms and money was raised for charity.
The school alleges it is possible that Houston was not the only school with participants, the forfeiture of the title is not a fitting punishment and that MSHSAA failed to follow good faith judgment in its decision and upholding.
The district requests a temporary restraining order until evidence can be presented and preliminary or permanent injunction can be heard.
MSHSAA declined to comment Thursday morning on the matter in the absence of its communications director.
The sectional match, currently featuring Licking and Stover, is scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight.
The petition was filed by Douglas D. Gaston in the Circuit Court of Texas County. The chief justice of the Missouri Supreme Court Mary Russell appointed Robert David Ray of Howell County to hear the case.
This is a developing story. Additional details will be provided as they become available.