Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Prep football: Jordan students lose bid to play football
Prep football » Judge denies request to block UHSAA decision on Jordan pair.
First Published Sep 11 2012 06:34 pm • Last Updated Dec 25 2012 11:31 pm

Two 17-year-olds who moved from Northern California to go to school at Jordan High and were denied athletic eligibility will have their day in court against the Utah High School Activities Association.

They just won’t get a decision before football season ends.

At a glance


» District Court judge Keith Kelly denies request for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against the UHSAA.

» Trial for Dynamite-Jones Fa’agata and Clifford Betson’s civil suit scheduled for Nov. 30.

» Decision means the seniors won’t play football at Jordan High.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

On Tuesday afternoon, a District Court judge denied temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions on behalf of Dynamite-Jones Fa’agata and Clifford Betson. The two seniors are moving forward with their lawsuit against the UHSAA for eligibility, but their consolidated trial won’t be until Nov. 30, two weeks after the Class 5A football final.

The decision means even if they win the lawsuit, the players won’t participate in games for the No. 1-ranked Beetdigger football team for the remainder of their high school careers.

Laura Lui, the attorney for the boys’ legal guardian, Tangikina Tua, said they still would fight for eligibility for the rest of the school year.

"I think they’re disappointed, but we’re going to go forward," Lui said. "Even if these students can’t get the opportunity to play, it could still help other similarly situated students. It could still be good for the public."

Judge Keith Kelly denied the orders because he determined there was no irreparable harm — a mandated condition of issuing an order — to Betson and Fa’agata if the court did not take action. Kelly cited that relevant case law showing playing high school sports is a privilege, not a legally protected right.

Both boys looked downtrodden as Kelly said they would not be able to play. But Kelly did put the trial on a fast track, judicially speaking, to help get a decision before the winter and spring seasons.

"I’m sure the ruling is frustrating to you," Kelly said to Betson and Fa’agata toward the end of the four-hour proceedings. "But I’m ordering this to be put to trial quickly so you can know whether you can play the rest of the year."

The two sides now have a chance to collect evidence to present at the full trial, which will determine if the UHSAA’s denial of eligibility following its hardship waiver appeal hearing was "arbitrary and capricious."

story continues below
story continues below

Betson and Clifford, distantly related cousins, both came from the Bay Area in California this spring to live with the Tuas, who live in Jordan boundaries. The UHSAA denied their hardship waiver, saying the boys did not meet the organization’s standard for a hardship and that several of the signatures on their forms were forged.

In the suit, the plaintiffs have argued that the UHSAA violated due process and equal protection under the law in rendering its decision. The UHSAA has won several lawsuits in recent years by arguing it is a private entity with discretion in how to regulate its activities.


Twitter: @kylegoon

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.