Sullivan v. University Interscholastic League, No. 13078

CourtCourt of Appeals of Texas. Court of Civil Appeals of Texas
Writing for the CourtSMITH
Citation599 S.W.2d 860
Docket NumberNo. 13078
Decision Date14 May 1980
PartiesJohn SULLIVAN et al., Appellants, v. The UNIVERSITY INTERSCHOLASTIC LEAGUE et al., Appellees.

Page 860

599 S.W.2d 860
John SULLIVAN et al., Appellants,
v.
The UNIVERSITY INTERSCHOLASTIC LEAGUE et al., Appellees.
No. 13078.
Court of Civil Appeals of Texas, Austin.
May 14, 1980.

Page 862

H. Clyde Farrell, Texas Civil Liberties Union, Uvalde, for appellants.

Mark White, Atty. Gen., Carla Cox, Asst. Atty. Gen., Austin, for University Interscholastic League and Dr. Bailey Marshall.

Brook Bennett Brown, McGinnis, Lochridge & Kilgore, Austin, for Jack L. Davidson, Charles Akins, James Acker, John Brown.

SMITH, Justice.

The opinion of this Court filed on March 19, 1980, is withdrawn, and the following opinion replaces it.

The appellant, John Sullivan, through his father and next friend, Joe Sullivan, sued the University Interscholastic League, the Austin Independent School District, and four named officials of the School District challenging the validity and constitutionality of Section 14 of Article VIII of the Constitution and Contest Rules of the University Interscholastic League. This section provides that a student who has represented a high school (other than his present school) in either football or basketball is ineligible, for one calendar year after moving to another district, to participate in the same sport in the school to which he changes. For the sake of brevity, the "One Year Rule" will be referred to in this opinion as "the rule." 1

Page 863

This suit was brought as a class action, pursuant to Rule 42, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure (1979). The trial court certified as a class ". . . all Texas public high school students who are or will be ineligible to play public high school varsity basketball or football because they have moved into Texas from another state within the preceding year." On April 25, 1979, the trial court dismissed appellants' action against the named school officials and granted a summary judgment on the motion of the University Interscholastic League and the Austin Independent School District. Appellants have duly perfected this appeal from the trial court's take nothing judgment. We affirm.

In March of 1977, John Sullivan moved with his family from Vermont to Austin because of a transfer of his father's employment. He had played basketball at his high school in Vermont. After entering school in Austin, he was informed that he was ineligible to play UIL-sponsored varsity basketball by operation of the "One Year Rule." Sullivan brought suit alleging that this rule violated his right to due process and equal protection of law under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Initially, appellant contends that the rule violates the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by establishing a nonpermissive irrebuttable presumption that any student who transfers from one high school to another after participating in varsity competition at the first school is transferring as a result of being recruited for varsity competition at the second school.

A two-step analysis is required in determining whether a person has been deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. This Court must first determine whether any constitutionally cognizable life, liberty or property interest is implicated. If so, it is only then that we must proceed to determine what process is due under the circumstances, and whether the complainant has been accorded less than the requisite degree of procedural protection. Ingraham v. Wright, 430 U.S. 651, 97 S.Ct. 1401, 51 L.Ed.2d 711 (1977).

This is not a case of first impression. Similar rules regulating interscholastic high school sports have been uniformly upheld as constitutional by state, as well as federal, courts. We feel that these cases clearly establish that participation in interscholastic athletics is not a constitutionally protected liberty or property interest. Albach v. Odle, 531 F.2d 983 (10th Cir. 1976); Dallam v. Cumberland Valley School District, 391 F.Supp. 358 (M.D.Pa.1975); Stock v. Texas Catholic Interscholastic League, 364 F.Supp. 362 (N.D.Tex.1973); Bruce v. South Carolina High School League, 258 S.C. 546, 189 S.E.2d 817 (1972); Mitchell v. Louisiana High School Athletic Ass'n, 430 F.2d 1155 (5th Cir. 1970); Oklahoma High School Athletic Ass'n v. Bray, 321 F.2d 269 (10th Cir. 1963).

As Sullivan has no liberty or property interest in playing interscholastic sports, we are not required to reach the question of whether he was accorded due process of law in the UIL's refusal to allow him to play varsity basketball.

Appellant also asserts that the rule violates the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by infringing on his rights of interstate travel and familial privacy.

"In an equal protection of the law analysis, the reviewing court . . . must recognize the applicable standard of judicial scrutiny. If the questioned statute infringes upon a 'fundamental right' or creates an inherently 'suspect classification,' the statute will be subjected to strict judicial scrutiny. Such scrutiny requires the state to establish a compelling interest in its enactment. To discharge such a burden the state must demonstrate that its purpose or

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interest is both constitutionally permissible and substantial, and that its use of the classification is necessary to the accomplishment of its purpose." Hernandez v. Houston Independent School District, 558 S.W.2d 121, 123 (Tex.Civ.App. Austin 1977, writ ref'd n. r. e.); Norwick v. Nyquist, 417 F.Supp. 913 (S.D.N.Y.1976).

"On the other hand, if the statute does not collide with a fundamental right or create a suspect classification, the statute is accorded a presumption of constitutionality. The presumption may not be disturbed unless...

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8 practice notes
  • Ryan v. Cif-Sds, No. D036199.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • December 24, 2001
    ...S.W.2d 597, 602; Spring Branch I.S.D. v. Stamos (Tex.1985) 695 S.W.2d 556, 561; Sullivan v. University Interscholastic League (Tex.1980) 599 S.W.2d 860, 863, rev'd in part on other grounds, (Tex.1981) 616 S.W.2d 170; Bailey v. Truby (1984) 174 W.Va. 8, 321 S.E.2d 302, Citing Perry v. Sinder......
  • Bailey v. Truby, Nos. 16155
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • July 11, 1984
    ...School Athletic Association v. Cox, 221 Tenn. 164, 176, 425 S.W.2d 597, 602 (1968); Sullivan v. University Interscholastic League, 599 S.W.2d 860, 863 (Tex.Civ.App.1980), aff'd in part and rev'd in part on other grounds, 616 S.W.2d 170 (Tex.1981); Starkey v. Board of Education, 14 Utah 2d 2......
  • Adamek v. Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Ass'n, Inc.
    • United States
    • Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania
    • March 3, 1981
    ...Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Ass'n v. Cox, 221 Tenn. 164, 425 S.W.2d 597 (1968); Sullivan v. University Interscholastic League, 599 S.W.2d 860 (Tex.Civ.App.1980); Trofimuk v. PIAA, 7 D. & C.3d 712 (C.P.Butler 1978). Contra, Behagen v. Intercollegiate Conf. of Fac. Reps., 346 F.Supp. ......
  • Adamek v. Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Ass'n, Inc.
    • United States
    • Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania
    • March 3, 1981
    ...Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Ass'n v. Cox, 221 Tenn. 164, 425 S.W.2d 597 (1968); Sullivan v. University Interscholastic League, 599 S.W.2d 860 (Tex.Civ.App.1980); Trofimuk v. PIAA, 7 D. & C.3d 712 (C.P.Butler 1978). Contra, Behagen v. Intercollegiate Conf. of Fac. Reps., 346 F.Supp. ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
8 cases
  • Ryan v. Cif-Sds, No. D036199.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • December 24, 2001
    ...S.W.2d 597, 602; Spring Branch I.S.D. v. Stamos (Tex.1985) 695 S.W.2d 556, 561; Sullivan v. University Interscholastic League (Tex.1980) 599 S.W.2d 860, 863, rev'd in part on other grounds, (Tex.1981) 616 S.W.2d 170; Bailey v. Truby (1984) 174 W.Va. 8, 321 S.E.2d 302, Citing Perry v. Sinder......
  • Bailey v. Truby, Nos. 16155
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • July 11, 1984
    ...School Athletic Association v. Cox, 221 Tenn. 164, 176, 425 S.W.2d 597, 602 (1968); Sullivan v. University Interscholastic League, 599 S.W.2d 860, 863 (Tex.Civ.App.1980), aff'd in part and rev'd in part on other grounds, 616 S.W.2d 170 (Tex.1981); Starkey v. Board of Education, 14 Utah 2d 2......
  • Adamek v. Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Ass'n, Inc.
    • United States
    • Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania
    • March 3, 1981
    ...Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Ass'n v. Cox, 221 Tenn. 164, 425 S.W.2d 597 (1968); Sullivan v. University Interscholastic League, 599 S.W.2d 860 (Tex.Civ.App.1980); Trofimuk v. PIAA, 7 D. & C.3d 712 (C.P.Butler 1978). Contra, Behagen v. Intercollegiate Conf. of Fac. Reps., 346 F.Supp. ......
  • Adamek v. Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Ass'n, Inc.
    • United States
    • Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania
    • March 3, 1981
    ...Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Ass'n v. Cox, 221 Tenn. 164, 425 S.W.2d 597 (1968); Sullivan v. University Interscholastic League, 599 S.W.2d 860 (Tex.Civ.App.1980); Trofimuk v. PIAA, 7 D. & C.3d 712 (C.P.Butler 1978). Contra, Behagen v. Intercollegiate Conf. of Fac. Reps., 346 F.Supp. ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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