Kickapoo Football Player Claims Racism, Transfers to Glendale

Kickapoo Football Player Claims Racism, Transfers to Glendale

This story provided by Ben Gilbert of OzarksFirst.com-

A student-athlete who transferred from Kickapoo High School to Glendale is suing Springfield Public Schools and the Missouri State High School Activities Association. The lawsuit follows a MSHSAA ruling that senior quarterback Kylan Mabins is not eligible to play this season.

According to court documents, Mabins is asking for an injunction that would allow him to play football in this, his senior year.

“It affects his future because, like all student-athletes who participate in their specific sport, their participation in that sport, especially during their senior year, affects their ability to obtain scholarships,” said Jay Kirksey, Mabins’ attorney. “And the ultimate goal of all student-athletes is not playing the sport, it’s to receive an education to better themselves as individuals.”

The crux of the issue is Mabins’ reason for transferring. MSHSAA ruled that Mabins transferred for athletic reasons and because of undue influence from a Glendale coach, whose name is redacted from available court documents. Mabins, meanwhile, claims in the lawsuit that he transferred because of racism and homophobic statements he experienced at Kickapoo. Mabins’ lawyers say he transferred because of a “hardship” at Kickapoo and thus should be eligible to play this season at Glendale.

“He moved and transferred schools because of a hardship, and one of those hardships was an atmosphere that was hostile to him based on race and, and other African American students within the Kickapoo athletic administration,” said Kirksey. “The lawsuit is about MSHSAA making an arbitrary and capricious decision that was absolutely unsupported by the facts and information made available to MSHSAA.”

The lawsuit alleges that Mabins experienced “repeated acts of racial micro-aggressions, acts of racial discrimination, the creation of a hostile environment to African Americans as a race, homophobic statements and other misconduct by the coaches at that were detrimental and harmful to Mabins, and other similarly situated student-athletes at Kickapoo.” Specific examples are not provided.

The lawsuit states that SPS didn’t properly investigate the allegations of racism and provided inaccurate information to a MSHSAA committee that investigated Mabins’ transfer.

“There are numerous student-athletes in the state of Missouri, and you would hope and expect that MSHSAA and their respective school districts would care about the truth,” Kirksey said.

Springfield Public Schools said in a statement it denies the allegations made in the lawsuit and stands by how its employees handled the situation:

“SPS is steadfast in our dispute of the allegations contained within the petition. SPS affirms the actions taken by the Missouri State High School Activities Association. We remain confident that our staff and representatives conducted themselves appropriately in this matter. In all circumstances, we focus on following MSHSAA guidelines in order to provide student athletes and teams with every opportunity to compete at the highest levels in the regular and postseason. Certainly, that commitment has guided every action taken in this situation.”

-SPRINGFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOLS

The lawsuit acknowledges Mabins had a relationship with a Glendale coach going back several years, but Mabins claims that was not the reason for his transfer.

Glendale made a coaching change two weeks before the start of the season, replacing Mike Mauk with Joel Heman. Mabins’ lawsuit does not mention whether his transfer situation had anything to do with the coaching change.

A hearing on the lawsuit is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 30 at 2:30 p.m. at the Greene County courthouse.