TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Oklahoma Supreme Court made a ruling today in the case of Sequoyah High School football players who fought suspensions handed down by the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association last year. The court ruled that the OSSAA, a private, non-profit organization that governs high school athletics, must abide by the same rules as state agencies. The court found that OSSAA, when determining rules and sanctions, must be fair and allow due process for all schools or students that are affected by the organization’s decisions. Although Sequoyah High School was at the center of the matter, this decision will affect all schools, and Sequoyah High School and Cherokee Nation applaud this result.
“Sequoyah High School, in all its endeavors, teaches our students to do what is right, play by the rules and be respectful in our actions,” said Superintendent Leroy Qualls. “Our cooperation with the OSSAA allowed our athletes to excel despite the tribulations of last year, and we want their accomplishments and hard work to be recognized.”
Sequoyah High School and the Cherokee Nation supported the players’ court battle to play in the remaining games of last year’s regular season. Sequoyah High School also stood in support of the players during the administrative process.
“We not only fought for these young student athletes to play football, but also fought to ensure that these students could play other sports and activities the rest of the school year,” Qualls said. Our actions saved the senior year for many students who were looking to lose eligibility in basketball, baseball and track. Our whole intention was to lessen the impact on the students, even if that meant penalties for the school.”
The Supreme Court ruling reversed orders that parents would reimburse the school for the cost of extra individual camps and also reversed an award of attorney’s fees to the OSSAA.
“It is important to remember that throughout this process, these students and parents did nothing wrong,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “They always followed the directives of those in charge at the time, so it pains me that some of our young student athletes were disappointed and hurt in this process. We are proud of our students at Sequoyah, for they are shining examples of courage and leadership.”
Fast Pitch Softball ~ State Runner-Up, tied until bottom of 7th, lost by 1
Cross Country ~ Boys were State Runner-Up, Girls qualified for State
Powerlifting ~ State Champion, State Runner-Up, and 3rd Place
Basketball ~ Boys made State semi-final, Girls made State quarter-final
Slow Pitch Softball ~ Lost by 1 to State Champion. Game tied in 7th.
Track ~ 18 students qualified as individuals, part of a team, or both
Golf ~ 2 boys (Rylan Bunch and Kyle Butler) qualified for State Golf Tournament
Team Academic Awards
Fast Pitch, Volleyball, Speech/Debate
College Athletics Scholarships
9 of our seniors signed Letters of Intent to play college sports
2 for Baseball
2 for Fast Pitch Softball
4 for Football
1 for Basketball
2 students (Courtney Jones and Ryan Helsley) selected to Indian All-State Basketball Team
Jessica Bluebird and Kara Linch: Fast-Pitch Softball
Kara Linch: Slow-Pitch Softball
Cherokee Nation News Release
Julie Hubbard - 918-207-3896
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