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The Kangaroo Court of sports

Ian Cropp
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Brown v. the Board of Education, meet your present day companion, Brown v. the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association.Thursday, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled in a case that pitted Tucker Brown, a quarterback for Shawnee High School, against OSSAA, a volunteer organization that governs high school football and had suspended Brown two games for kicking an opponent in retaliation.The court ruled against Brown.By my humble estimation, Brown vs. OSSAA will not be remembered as a precedent-setting case much like Roe v. Wade, Korematsu v. United States and Marbury v. Madison, but rather as a colossal waste of time.

The fact that a lower court had issued a temporary injunction blocking the association from enforcing the two-game suspension of Brown is absurd. Brown kicked a defender who had jumped over the line of scrimmage, grabbed Brown’s helmet and threw him to the ground during a game last week.Sure, Brown had been attacked first, but a suspension for kicking another player is reasonable. Let us remember, however, playing high school sports is not a right enumerated by the Constitution. It’s a privilege.But in all fairness, justice and the right to a fair trail is a right reserved to all Americans. Too bad the other Americans who had their case on the docket Thursday had to wait while the court presided over Brown’s case.I’m sure all of the justices who had to review videotape of the closing seconds of Shawnee’s game last week could have never imagined they would be in such a position while sitting in civil procedure class in their first year of law school.

Slippery slopesI love justice just as much as former Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney did, but I think the court hearing this case was a terrible idea. Much like the domino theory posited that if one country fell to communism, a bunch of others would, I firmly believe that if a state supreme court will hear this case, they’ll hear a lot of other equally meritless cases.For example, if Johnny Doe is sent to bed without dinner by Jane Doe, his mother, I don’t think the Oklahoma State Court would be on any footing to deny hearing Johnny’s plea. A lower court would likely issue an injunction, feeding Johnny Speghetti-O’s at the taxpayer’s expense, and see to it that any other case be suspended so that the Supreme Court could solve such a divisive issue before Johnny had to go to bed.Let it be known, I’m not opposed to all sports cases being heard in court. After all, there have been cases involving sports in which the court has done well to hear the case and make a sound decision.



Without the court’s Title IX decision, there would be far fewer female sports available. And Curt Flood’s Supreme Court case against Commissioner Bowie Kuhn helped pave the way for baseball’s compliance with the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, which led to free agency and higher salaries.So how do we make sure that cases not under the penumbra of the law, like Brown’s football fiasco, never get on the court docket?I think George Bush should appoint someone in whom he can trust. Maybe it should be someone who thinks Bush is the most intelligent ever. Harriet Miers, you’re hired.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14631, or icropp@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado


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