Thanks to an accident, one which has been rectified, a five-star high school girl’s basketball prospect has been robbed of her senior season. Maori Davenport, the No. 2 center in her recruiting class, is a standout at Charles Henderson High School in Troy, Ala. and is slated to spend the next four years playing college basketball at Rutgers.
Prior to the fifth game she was slated to play in her final season of high school ball, however, Davenport was told that she had been ruled ineligible by the Alabama High School Athletic Association for reasons outside of her control. Like many good basketball players, Davenport was asked to represent the United States at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship last year. The red, white, and blue won gold, with Davenport averaging 7.8 points, 7 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks per game.
As a way to compensate her for her performance, Davenport was given a stipend check for $857.20. Now, because God forbid any amateur athlete gets compensated for something they do that either costs money or generates revenue, this is a gigantic problem in the eyes of the AHSAA.
Typically, USA Basketball confers with high school federations to determine if players are allowed to accept payments. But due to an error USA Basketball admits it made, no call was made to the Alabama High School Athletic Association, which does not allow payments of more than $250.
When USA Basketball realized its mistake, it notified Henderson and the AHSAA. Davenport then sent the money back. But the AHSAA ruled that she was ineligible for one season.
In a statement to ESPNW, USA Basketball spokesman Craig Miller said “The NCAA allows us to pay athletes — who have no remaining high school eligibility — a small amount for the sake of representing the USA. Typically, if we have an athlete with high school eligibility remaining, we will check with their athletic association because the rules are different in each state.”