Home-school lawsuit against state is ended

Compromise by MPSSAA is ruled to be fair `solution'

High Schools

September 08, 2005|By Luke Broadwater | Luke Broadwater,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

A U.S. District Court Judge yesterday sided with the state in a $7.7 million lawsuit filed against the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association alleging that the state was discriminating against home-schooled students by disallowing them from competition against public-schoolers.

Judge J. Frederick Motz ruled that a compromise, called The Standards of Competition, proposed by the MPSSAA allows home-schoolers to compete against public schools provided they follow a series of rules, including age and academic restrictions, created by the state.

The MPSSAA is "to be commended for ... responding to this lawsuit, not reflexively, but by forging a constructive solution that furthers the public interest in safe and ethical athletic competition," Motz wrote in his ruling.

MPSSAA executive director Ned Sparks hailed the decision. "The court has confirmed the legitimacy and integrity of our program," Sparks said. "Our member schools and non-member opponents can feel confident that the public interest of safe and equitable competition has been preserved."

Carlos Sandoval, the home-schoolers' attorney, said The Standards of Competition still present "equal protection" problems, but agreed that they allow home-schoolers to compete.

"Yes, The Standards of Competition allow home-schoolers to participate in certain circumstances," said Sandoval, who is the wrestling coach at Progressive Christian Academy in Temple Hills. "We're not entirely happy with the standards. We believe they present equal protection problems in that they treat in-state non-MPSSAA member schools different than out-of-state non-MPSSAA member schools."

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