I was recently informed by my school and coach that my basketball scholarship for the upcoming season would not be renewed. These are the events that took place leading up to my coaches decision. All of this happened during the 2011-2012 year in the state of Tennessee at a NCAA university.
I am 22 years old and I went out to a club and got drunk and was vomiting in the restroom. Someone noticed and called an ambulance. I did not want to go to the hospital but the person that called 911saidI should go because she recently lost 2 friends to alcohol poisoning. As we were waiting and talking outside a police officer ask me what happened and I told him. He asked me for my id but it was in my purse and one of my friends had it. The ambulance came and took me to the hospital. Once I arrived they checked me out and said that I was just drunk and could go home as soon as I called a friend to pick me up. I had left all my personal belongings at the club and could not remember any phone numbers. The officer followed me to the hospital and checked on me and asked me if I could how him my id. I told him that I could not because my purse was still at the club. He arrested me at the hospital and took me to jail for failure to produce identification. I spent the night in jail and was released the next morning when a friend realized what happened. I had a court date a week later. I showed up and the judge said that since I was never in trouble before he would let me go and that it would not be put on my record. I told my coach what happened and he was disappointed in me but glad I told him what happened. If I never would have said anything then he probably would not have found out. He said he would think of a fair punishment for me but he never told me anything after that. All of this happened about a month before school ended. This incident was off-campus and during our official off-season. There were no practices or study halls or meetings at all. Remember I am also 22 so I did not break any drinking laws. One the very last day of school my coach informed me that my scholarship was taken away. During the meeting he only mentioned my arrest once but kept stating that I was lazy with my rehab and that I missed too much time with "questionable" injuries and illnesses.
Here is the back-story. I was a medical red-shirt was medically ineligible to play or practice due to a torn ACL (knee injury) that occurred during work outs before the official NCAA season was to start. These open gyms were "not mandatory" but "optional". We were told that if we did not attend the coaches would remember this when the season started. The school wanted to make me pay out of pocket for the surgery because they said I "didn't have to be there...fast-forward the school decides to pay for my surgery after I bring up NCAA violations. Two months after surgery I have a rash caused from the brace that the doctor had me wear for the first 3 months on a daily basis that causes and infection to my knee. I am told that the school will not cover the medical bills because this was not caused directly from the surgery. I am an international student so they tell me that if I do not pay the medical bills for the infection then I might lose my visa and I will not be able to graduate. 3 months later I develop a rare but serious eye infection that causes damage to my vision. I now have blurry vision and headaches because of this. I missed rehab and classes due to my injuries and illnesses. Every day that I missed was excused by a doctor and was valid. I was in the training room everyday that I was physically able to and never missed a day unless told to by a doctor.
My question is can I sue the school for the loss of my scholarship? Other teammates got in trouble during our season for violating team rules, drinking, curfews and not keeping up to date with their grades. One of our assistant coaches was also sleeping with one of the mens basketball players during the school year. The coach also knew this but did nothing about it. All they got were warnings and suspensions for a few games. I appealed the decision with the school and they ruled in favor of the coach. I believe that the coach and the school are wrong in their decision. I believe that the coach and the school did not want me back because of all of the injuries and illness that happened to me during the school year. After looking up the NCAA rule book I read that he could not take my scholarship away due to my injuries and used my "arrest" as his reasoning with the school. There is so much more to the story but I do not want to write every detail of what else happened. I know I made a mistake but so did other people who were nit injured and they did not lose their scholarships....
Do I have a case?? Any input or advice would be greatly appreciated!!
Thank you for reading!