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Court To Rule on Texas Sports Law

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The Texas Supreme Court has agreed to rule on the constitutionality of the state's controversial "no-pass, no-play" rule, which prevents students who fail one course from participating in extracurricular activities.

In late May, the high court stayed the ruling of Judge Marsha D. Anthony of the state district court in Houston, who had found the rule unconstitutional. Attorney General Jim Mattox asked the high court to intervene in the case to reconcile Judge Anthony's decision and an opposing judgment by another lower court.

"We anticipate that the supreme court next month, when they hear oral arguments on the issue, will uphold the law," said Terry Anderson, a spokesman for the state board of education, which opposes diluting the regulation in any way.

The supreme court's ruling came in a case involving five school districts that were scheduled to participate last month in Class 5A high-school baseball playoffs, the most competitive in the state. The play-offs were delayed when it was determined that a number of players on one team involved were ineligible under the regulation.

The court's action allowed the playoffs to continue without the ineligible players, according to the Attorney General's office. A hearing on the case, which was brought against the districts by the parents of the students, is scheduled for June 19; state officials expect that the case will be resolved over the summer.

Both the Texas Education Agency and the University Interscholastic League, which coordinates extracurricular competitions in the state, have intervened in the case as parties on the side of the districts.

In a related development, the Texas House passed a resolution last month voicing disappointment with judges who have ruled against the eligibility rule. In its statement, the House noted that "the courts' interference with the reasonable implementation of public policy is making extracurricular programs unworkable."--ab

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