Opinion: Down to their final strike, AHSAA swings and misses

Published 3:35 pm Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor 

There are no secrets when it comes to the love-hate relationship many in this state have had with the Alabama High School Athletic Association, but sadly, there has been more reasons to be disappointed than pleased lately.

An organization that handled the turmoil of COVID as good as anyone in the country has seemingly offset the good done with poor decision after poor decision regarding their true focus—creating a memorable experience for student athletes and their coaches.

In 2019, girls basketball player Maori Davenport was benched for her senior season at Charles Henderson High School for receiving an $857.20 check from USA basketball. That amount was quickly repaid by Davenport, but that wasn’t enough for the AHSAA, and she remained punished for being good enough to represent her country on a national stage.

Strike one.

Then, last year, Oakwood Academy’s boys basketball team was forced to forfeit its Sweet 16 basketball game against Faith Christian because the game fell on a Saturday, which the school observes as the Sabbath as part of the Seventh-Day Adventist. The school asked for the game to be moved, but the AHSAA blamed the school and said they knew the possibility was there, basically telling them to suck it up and play anyway.

The team stood strong and didn’t play, the governor got involved and the rule has since been amended for teams to be able to move games due to religious reasons because of them standing their ground against the AHSAA.

Strike two.

Now, ahead of the 2023 baseball season, Hoover High School baseball coach Adam Moseley, who is considered one of the state’s best, will have to miss the entire baseball season.

Why? Because, like Davenport, he represented his country.

Moseley and one of his players both earned a spot on the U-18 Baseball World Cup team, and AHSAA rules prohibit a coach from coaching one of his high school players outside of the regular season practice and competition period.

That rule is meant to keep high school coaches from coaching players during AAU and rec league sports, which is a poor rule on a whole different level to begin with, but it doesn’t take into account a coach and player both representing the country as part of Team USA.

Rightfully, Moseley and Hoover infielder RJ Hamilton both participated in the game. Hoover High School officials constantly reached out to the AHSAA beforehand to try and be forthcoming to prevent this situation.

Then, two weeks ago, the ruling was handed down that one would have to sit out for the season.

Moseley did the right thing and took the suspension on the chin so that Hamilton wouldn’t have to miss his senior season.

Strike three.

As a paper, we have had our own run ins with the AHSAA, from being berated for showing up to cover an event to not being allowed to hand out special printed celebration papers with no reason given other than, “it’s against our bylaws,” only to have others be allowed to hand them out.

The credibility of the AHSAA is completely gone. It was bad enough to embarrass the athletes and coaches on a local and state level, but now, it’s happened three times in less than four years on a national level.

The AHSAA has struck out. It’s time for change.