The federal appeals court in Cincinnati has been asked to rule on an issue which has the potential to affect hundreds of students seeking to play sports at private high schools across Kentucky.
A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments last week on the constitutionality of a Kentucky High School Athletic Association rule that sets limits on academic scholarships. The rule limits merit-based aid to no more than 25 percent of the cost of tuition if a student wants to play a sanctioned sport. The parents challenging the rule argue that it discriminates on the basis of religion, claiming that students who want to play high school sports are penalized if they attend a private, religious-based school. The argument is that children who want to play sports are being penalized because of a parental decision that the child attends a religious-based high school. KHSAA’s attorneys argued that the rule is neutral, and does not impact religion at all, but rather is aimed at preventing unfair recruitment by private schools who seek to gain an advantage over the public schools, which cannot recruit student athletes outside of their boundaries.
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