Charles Henderson Basketball Player Receiving National Support After Suspension
Charles Henderson senior Maori Davenport loves basketball.
Her career is highlighted by winning a state championship her junior year and winning the gold medal while playing for Team USA U-18 last summer in Mexico.
“When I got the medal, I was shocked,” Davenport says. “I got to stand there while they played the National Anthem and put the medal around my neck. I was like woah.”
Maori’s senior season is now in doubt after she received a check for $857.20 from Team USA last August and deposited it into her bank account. In November, Maori’s mother, Tara, received a phone call from Team USA believing they had made a mistake.
“She was telling me that she believed that she had sent Maori a check that she was not supposed to receive,” Tara recalls.
High school players could lose their eligibility if they accept money for their play.
Tara immediately called the Alabama High School Athletic Association to let them know she was returning to the check.
“My mom sent the money back with in 72 hours and she paid extra money to send it back as fast as possible,” Maori says.
Later in November, Maori was suspended for violating the AHSAA’s Amateur Rule, which states “ a student cannot accept payment for loss of time or wages while participating in athletics as part of expenses.”
Charles Henderson principal Brock Kelley twice appealed the decision but to no avail.
While on the sidelines, Maori continues to support her team.
“I was trying to go to practice, try to be at every game I can. And that’s all I can do,” Maori says.
In recent weeks, Davenport has received national support, including from the WNBA and ESPN, calling for an overturned decision to allow Davenport to play in the remaining games her senior season.
“Thats a mind-blowing thing,” Maori says. “It’s like the WBNA, like wow, I already wanna play there one day and now they’re trying to help me play in high school.”
Davenport has committed to Rutgers University, her basketball career carrying on no matter what happens next.
On Monday, the AHSAA released a statement, telling their side of the story. You can find that statement here.