Top California football prospect TA Cunningham asks for injunction to play after being deemed ineligible

An legal professional representing defensive finish TA Cunningham, the No. 1-ranked football prospect in California within the Class of 2024, filed for an injunction Tuesday in Orange County Superior Court, requesting to reverse a ruling final week from the California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section that decided he was ineligible.

In the offseason, Cunningham, a junior, transferred to Los Alamitos High in Los Alamitos, California, from Georgia, the place his dad and mom nonetheless reside. The submitting from legal professional Michael Caspino asks for an “instant order” that might make Cunningham eligible to play Thursday evening.

“[The CIF and CIF Southern Section] have offered no written rationalization for their resolution to bar [Cunningham] from taking part in football this season,” the submitting states.

According to the submitting, the ruling from the CIF, California’s governing physique for highschool athletics, “is predicated on the grounds that [Cunningham] doesn’t meet the definition of a ‘homeless pupil’ and/or has failed to set up that his change of faculties was due to a ‘hardship.'”

Cunningham’s petition challenged that assertion by together with photographic proof that his household was evicted from their house earlier this yr, ensuing within the want to discover a new college.

Around the time his household was evicted, Cunningham’s father linked with representatives from Levels Sports Group, a would-be sports activities advertising and marketing firm created to facilitate title, picture and likeness offers, largely for school and highschool athletes.

“The Levels Team promised that the Cunningham household would have a house, transportation and meals in California,” the submitting states. “A promise was even made that the Levels Team would supply a separate house in Georgia for [Cunningham’s] mom.”

None of that materialized, in accordance to the submitting.

When Cunningham moved to California, he and his youthful brother stayed on the house of Levels co-founder Chris “Coach Frogg” Flores, who was later arrested on Aug. 8 on a number of counts of sexual assault of a minor.

“After Flores was arrested, the Levels Team went utterly darkish and failed to reply [Cunningham] and his household,” the submitting states. “Eventually, [Cunningham] requested that his contract with Levels be rescinded. Levels complied with this request.

“Now, [Cunningham] is homeless. He didn’t obtain the NIL offers that had been promised by the Levels Team. He has been victimized.”

Caspino instructed ESPN that after he offered legal professionals for the CIF-SS with a declaration to show Cunningham’s hardship on Wednesday, the CIF-SS moved the goalposts. According to Caspino, a consultant for the CIF-SS instructed him that whereas the group not objected to Cunningham’s hardship declare, it had opened an undue affect investigation, throughout which Cunningham would stay ineligible.

The CIF-SS has a number of guidelines associated to undue affect outlined in its bylaws, amongst which pre-enrollment contact with coaches prior to a switch is prohibited, as are athletically motivated transfers. Historically, these guidelines have been tough to implement and are utilized inconsistently all through the state and part.

CIF-SS commissioner Rob Wigod declined remark about Cunningham’s switch in an e-mail to ESPN, citing coverage not to touch upon pending litigation.

“TA Cunningham is being handled in a different way,” Caspino mentioned. “He actually is.”

As a part of the submitting, Caspino included the physique of an e-mail addressed to Wigod, amongst others, on Sept. 6, complaining about Cunningham’s switch to Los Alamitos. The unknown creator wrote, partially, “In football, constructing unlawful mega groups turns into harmful for gamers they face. Our concern is primarily targeted on the potential for publicity to devastating accidents whereas taking part in vs gamers equivalent to TA Cunningham.”

It later linked to a narrative through which Cunningham was quoted as saying he took a go to to Los Alamitos and believed he may belief the teaching workers, indicating pre-enrollment communication occurred.

Caspino mentioned he expects to current Cunningham’s case earlier than a decide Thursday afternoon.

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