Charter, Private Schools File Lawsuit against SCHSL

2019 SCHSL 2A girls state cross country start.

A decision on the eligibility of transferring student-athletes has prompted 13 private schools across the state to file a lawsuit against the South Carolina High School League.

Christ Church Episcopal School in Greenville County filed the suit. It also lists Bishop England High School (Daniel Island), Brashier Middle College Charter High School (Greenville), Fox Creek High School (North Augusta), Gray Collegiate Academy (Lexington), Greenville Technical Charter High School (Greenville), Greer Middle College Charter High School (Greer), Legion Collegiate Academy (Rock Hill), Oceanside Collegiate Academy (Mt. Pleasant), Palmetto Scholars Academy (Joint Base Charleston), Public Charter School Alliance of South Carolina, Southside Christian School (Simpsonville) and St. Joseph's Catholic School (Greenville) as joining in the lawsuit.

The SCHSL's amended bylaws and constitution are what is being disputed in the suit. The amendment, approved in March, states that most athletes in grades 7-12 at public charter and private schools would have to sit out from participating in sports for one year at the time they enroll in the school of their choice.

Cross country coaches from schools listed were reached out to for comment but denied "due to the pending lawsuit." However, Maria Aselage, who is the Director of Media Relations for Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston provided a press release from the Public Charter School Alliance of South Carolina which stated that "the League has ignored an opinion from Attorney General Alan Wilson (read it here) that said that the League's new eligibility rule likely violates state law."

The release also has a comment from state senator Larry Grooms (R-Berkeley) that says "Yet again, the League has placed itself above the law. This is discrimination - on so many fronts - against these students and their parents who have the right to choose an educational opportunity they feel is best for their children. Every year of growth and development has an impact on a student's ability to perform athletically, and there is no reason the SCHSL should cheat students of this opportunity."

There are 206 members high schools that make up the SCHSL. Four of those schools are private, while 21 are public charter schools.

Brashier Middle College principal and Public Charter School Alliance board member Mike Sinclair stated in the release that "This decision impacts 1 in 8 schools that are part of the SCHSL. If the League's mission is to 'promote, support and enrich the educational experience of students,' this decision by the League certainly flies in the face of that."

The lawsuit was filed in the Court of Common Pleas in Greenville County on May 18. The League has 30 days to answer the complaint.

View related lawsuit documents from Greenville County (after click accept, search Christ Church under last name/business and click the 5/18/20 case number link)