It turns out there were at least two cases providing precedent that it is not the court’s business what the Alabama High School Athletic Association rules, except in cases of fraud, acts of collusion, arbitrariness or lack of jurisdiction.
Which is to say, the Alabama Supreme Court has agreed to mostly keep out of the business of the AHSAA, and has warned that lesser courts (like the circuit courts of Jefferson, Etowah and Morgan counties) should do so as well. It left itself an angle in by excepting fraud, etc., but there was no compelling reason here that it should get involved, so didn’t.
The rule was originally set forth in a 1970 case, Scott v. Kilpatrick, 286 AL 129, which should have been easily accessible to all three of the circuit courts that decided to assume jurisdiction.
The fact that three local circuit courts ignored well-settled law to rule in favor of their homey’s should provide all the evidence anyone needs that a) all law, like politics, is local, and b) that knowing the judge is more important than knowing the law.
The Alabama Supreme Court had bigger issues than just the local high school football team, realizing that if these circuit courts weren’t brought to heel, the AHSAA would likely fail of its essential purpose. It is instructive to note though that one of the two dissenters in the 7-2 decision hails from Jefferson County (former probate court judge there), which is Clay-Chalkville’s county, and is the county where he presumably gets the bulk of his votes in the statewide Supreme Court elections.
What should the Clay-Chalkville players learn from this? If they wish to gain in wisdom, they should learn that there are forces beyond one’s control that can thwart one’s efforts, no matter how talented and dedicated one is. The players didn’t decide whom to play on the team, their coaches and administrators did, and their coaches and administrators let them down. But they should take solace in their efforts, not minding that the intended result did not obtain. They did all they could.