Federal court rejects Michigan high school basketball player’s plea for eligibility

DETROIT (AP) — A judge on Thursday rejected a plea from a Michigan State basketball recruit who’s been barred from playing his senior season after transferring to a new high school.

Thomas Kithier said his rights have been violated by the Michigan High School Athletic Association. But U.S. District Judge Marianne Battani said there’s no constitutional right to play high school sports or participate in any school-related activity.

That may be a “shock to some,” the judge said.

The MHSAA said Kithier is ineligible because his transfer to defending Class A champion Clarkston from Dakota was motivated by sports and a desire to play with another Michigan State recruit, Foster Loyer, who was his teammate on a summer team.

Kithier and his parents insist that he left Dakota because he wanted a better education. They turned to federal court after losing an appeal.

Battani said the law isn’t on Kithier’s side, even if he misses an “opportunity of a lifetime” by not playing a final year of high school basketball. The 18-year-old’s attorney, Ven Johnson, described it as a “death penalty.”