A high school star athlete should be preparing for the playoffs, but instead he's preparing legal paperwork.
Senior guard Bryan Delancy was a key reason the Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School basketball team reached the playoffs this year. But it's unlikely the team will actually make it to the Miami-Dade District playoffs on Thursday because Delancy, a Bahamas native, is not eligible to play, the Miami Herald reports.
The Florida High School Athletic Association requires schools to file paperwork for all international students who wish to participate in extra-curricular activities. Florida public schools cannot deny foreign-born students an education, but extra-curricular activities are not considered a "right" for those students, M. Denarvise Thornton Jr., associate executive director of the FHSAA, told the newspaper.
"As far as asking for a student's immigration status, Public education (keyword being education) is a right, and no one can be kept from it because of their status. However, athletics are considered extracurricular and therefore a privilege, not a right. International students must be properly documented in order to participate," the association said in a statement obtained by wsvn.com.
No paperwork was ever filed for Delancy, who is in the U.S. on a student visa. The 19-year-old high school star and two of his teammates are now suing the FHSAA, arguing that the constitutional right to an education should include sports, the Herald reports.
"I don't see any other kids showing documents for them to go to school or play basketball," Delancy told wsvn.com.
The association it expected to determine the team's fate at a formal hearing on Tuesday.
"It is a very dangerous precedent for the high school athletic association to become an immigration agent. What's next? Checking your papers at the basketball court. No," Maria Rodriguez of the Florida Immigration Coalition said in an interview with wsvn.com.
If Delancy is ruled ineligible, the team must forfeit the 19 games he played in, squashing their chance at competing in the playoffs, according to the newspaper.
"For people to do this and not let us succeed in what we want to do for our lifetime goals or whatever it is, it's heartbreaking," Delancy's teammate, Patrick George, told wsvn.com.