A Hennepin District Court Judge ruled Friday against Prairie Seeds Academy's effort to play in the state soccer tournament. Earlier this week the Minnesota State High School League ruled the school could not play in the tournament because it had used an ineligible player all season.
Prairie Seeds Academy, a charter school in Brooklyn Park, took the matter to court saying it had evidence the player was eligible. But the judge ruled otherwise on Friday. Judge Jay Quam called it "an unfortunate situation with unfortunate consequences."
Judge Quam said the bylaws of the Minnesota State High School League are clear and denied Prairie Seeds' request for a temporary restraining order, meaning there would be no state tournament for the Lycans' soccer team.
An attorney for Prairie Seeds had argued the MSHSL was wrong in declaring the player ineligible because of academics and a problem with a school transfer.
"We believe the transfer form was properly done and that the student was properly on the team," says Prairie Seeds' attorney Joan Quade. "So for them to now disqualify the entire team and all those boys who have worked so hard for this, it's just wrong."
While Prairie Seeds had hoped to play its match Friday evening against Duluth Marshall, the Brooklyn Park team would have also faced suspensions due to a large fight following its match with Totino-Grace on Oct. 18.
Prairie Seeds officals said they expected player suspensions, they say the Minnesota State High School League didn't talk to them about eligibility issues that could disqualify the team. Prairie Seeds also complained something should be done about disrespectful chanting and racial slurs in earlier games.
"Obviously, the Prairie Seeds Academy and its players are very disappointed in the decision," said Quade in a statement issued Friday. "We do not believe the League followed its own rules and came to a snap decision without fully investigating. The School will have to determine its next course. The disrespectful comments and behaviors by opposing teams needs to be addressed and the League must apply its rules in a fair and equitable manner to all."
Minnesota High School League Executive Director Dave Stead reacted to the decision this way: "It's unfortunate anytime students are not allowed to participate," he said. "The decision upholds the integrity of the League's bylaws."
Mike Johnson reporting
October 26, 2012