At 4:30 pm yesterday in the Courtroom 405, Judge Ross Goodman heard lawyers argue whether the court should intervene in the eligibility case of Escambia High School football player Terik Miller. His parents asked that the judge grant an injunction that would allow their son to play football.
Robert Rushing, attorney for the Millers, argued that Terik’s had not been granted due process and had his integrity challenged in the media by Superintendent Malcolm Thomas without being given a chance to defend himself against the allegations.
Attorneys for the FHSAA and Superintendent Thomas argued the FHSAA appeal process gives the student due process. He can appeal on Oct. 7 at a sectional hearing and if that fails he can appeal to full FHSAA board later in the month. The two-tiered process, they argued, constitutes due process.
They also added that playing football is not a fundamental right. “In the absence of a right, there is no due process required.”
Rushing argued that the law that was passed in 2012 made high school athletics a right under Florida law, that children can not be punished for the mistakes of adults and that the investigation wasn’t done as mandated by the FHSAA policies.
The FHSAA attorney argued that the FHSAA did not conduct the investigation and that school district did not have to follow FHSAA policies – which require notification to the parents of an investigation and consent from the parents to interview their children.
“Due process doesn’t require a perfect investigation.”
Rushing walked through the district’s investigative report citing several inconsistencies and alleged misstatements. The attorneys for the school district submitted a recording of Mr. Miller’s speech at rally for the EHS football program—yes, the school district spied on the EHS supporters.
After listening to both sides for little over an hour, Judge Goodman retired to his chambers to consider the arguments. No time line was given for when he will make his ruling.