Families Suing Andover Schools Over Basketball Tryouts

By: Stephanie Diffin Email
By: Stephanie Diffin Email

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A lawsuit filed against a local school district comes weeks after a head coach's resignation. The lawsuit, against Andover Schools, alleges a pay to play atmosphere didn't give students a fair chance to make the boys basketball team.

Two families have filed the lawsuit, but a lawyer tells KAKE News there are more who feel money got in the way of fair tryouts this year. But the lawsuit, isn't asking for money. It's asking for another tryout.

"I asked Zach I said, 'Well how do you feel about being cut?' And he said, 'I don't deserve it,'" said Paul Peffly, one student's uncle and legal guardian.

Peffly says he believes his nephew wasn't cut from the team because of lack of ability, but rather financial controversy, after former Head Coach Jason Stucky allegedly asked several parents to loan him money. Now, some of those parents are suing Andover Schools.

"We've got these money issues that have tainted the process, and that's what this thing is all about," said Corlin Pratt, an attorney representing Peffly and one other family.

Peffly is one of the parents who says he gave Stucky a loan.

"Basically I did it because we knew that he had been in financial trouble," said Peffly.

But when the loan was late, Peffly says he threatened to take Stucky to court. Basketball tryouts were a few weeks later.

"There shouldn't be any question about why they didn't make it. There shouldn't be in this process, money should not come into play," said Pratt.

Jason Stucky has resigned from the district. He tells KAKE News, "There were three days of tryouts, and all players were evaluated by all three coaches. Then on the final day of tryouts, the decision was unanimous on which kids were going to make the team, and cuts were based solely on skill and effort."

"The fact that you've got assistant head coaches in there, does that erase the taint? I don't think it does," said Pratt.

Andover Superintendent Mark Evans says the district is aware of the documents filed against the district, and could not provide much comment due to the fact that the case is a personnel and legal issue. However in a statement he did say, "The District has full confidence in the process used for team selection for the AHS basketball program, as well as full confidence in the legal process."

"When you choose a team, someone's going to be left off. But you want to make sure that when you're left off, it was for the right reasons," said Peffly.

A hearing in the case is scheduled for January 4th, although the plaintiff's attorney says he believes the District is filing a motion asking the court whether the parents have the right to move forward in the case.

Stucky has been replaced as head coach by Ryan Harshaw.

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