Tupelo officials dismissed from suit

mhsaa logo, no bkgdBy Patsy R. Brumfield

Daily Journal

TUPELO – School officials Jason Harris and Jon Schoggin were dismissed as individuals Thursday from a soccer players’ lawsuit against a team membership rule change.

U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock agreed with plantiffs’ attorney Mark Halbert of Tupelo and defense attorney Michael Carr of Cleveland that Harris, Tupelo’s principal, and Schoggin, its athletic director, should be dropped from the legal action as individuals, although they remain defendants in their official capacities.

The court also set an Oct. 17 hearing in Aberdeen on the plaintiffs’ request for a temporary delay in enforcement of the rule.

Sixteen Tupelo and Starkville soccer players, through their parents or guardians, filed suit in early September to challenge enforcement of a new rule adopted by the Mississippi High School Activities Association.

The rule limits the number of athletic team players to come from independent or “select” teams.

The lawsuit insists that the new rule is unconstitutional and violates the players’ rights to equal treatment under the law.

The lawsuit started out in chancery court but was moved to federal court by MHSAA in mid-month.

A plaintiffs’ motion in chancery court asked for a temporary delay in enforcing the rule, but that request has not made it to federal court.

patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com