Lakeville Tennis Player Files Lawsuit Against School, MSHSL After Denied Tryout on Boys Team

Lakeville Tennis Player Files Lawsuit Against School, MSHSL After Denied Tryout on Boys Team Photo: KSTP/File

April 06, 2017 05:21 AM

A Lakeville South High School senior and her parent have filed suit against the school and the Minnesota High School League after being told she could not try out for the boys tennis team.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court, claims that the student "was denied a constitutionally protected right without due process." 


UPDATE: Lakeville Tennis Player's Lawsuit Resolved

While she tried out in the fall of 2016 for the girls team, she chose not to participate. She did not pay the activity fee, have a medical exam or fill out the forms to play. 

She states her tryout was less than five hours, and she chose not to participate on the team due to "a negative, abusive and unhealthy educational environment," the lawsuit states.

In issuing the denial, MSHSL cited Bylaw 109, which states, "Students may not participate in more than one interscholastic season in a given sport in each school year or more than six seasons in any sport while enrolled in grades 7 to 12." 

The lawsuit states the student did not violate these rules, and had participated on the girls tennis team for four years.

The lawsuit adds that Neil Strader, the school's athletic director who is named in the suit, "knew the head coach for the 2016 LSHS Girls Tennis team violated (school) and League rules." 

According to the lawsuit, the student tried out for the boys team because she wished to "maximize the full potential of her high school educational experience by trying-out for and winning a spot on the 2017 LSHS Boys Tennis team." 

The girl and her parent argue that she met all of the league's eligibility requirements, and that the coaches and students on the boys team support her opportunity to play with them. 

The MSHSL allowed the family to submit a letter to its board of directors, which is currently reviewing the issue. She is not allowed to practice or play with the team pending the board's review.

The lawsuit alleges the two institutions acted "improperly and unlawfully" in "denying ... a committed student in good standing, the opportunity for participation in interscholastic athletics."  

The lawsuit seeks monetary damages in addition to her ability to try out and participate in sports. 

The family paid a $300 registration fee. 

The tryouts for the boys team are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday. 


Theresa Malloy

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