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Crespi Shot Putter Fails to get Court Order Allowing Him to Compete This Spring

Amir Patterson claimed a year of homeschooling had unfairly counted against him in his CIF eligibility.

Amir Patterson, a shot putter at Crespi in Encino. Patch file photo.
Amir Patterson, a shot putter at Crespi in Encino. Patch file photo.

A judge today declined to order the California Interscholastic Federation's Southern Section to allow a UCLA-bound shot putter to participate in a competition at Crespi Carmelite High School in Encino.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Luis Lavin declined to issue a temporary restraining order, ruling that Amir Patterson had not exhausted his non-judicial options before asking for help from the courts.

The judge found that, after being unsuccessful with two appeals on the CIFSS level, Patterson had an opportunity to take his case before the state CIF executive director and failed to do so.

Lavin also questioned why Patterson had waited until now to go to court when the CIFSS' determination of his ineligibility was made Oct. 13.

Patterson's attorney, David Greifinger, said he believes his client will have a “meritorious” case on his final appeal at the CIF state level, but he declined further comment.

Patterson, a senior in his final semester at Crespi, filed the disability accommodation lawsuit on Wednesday. The athlete, 18, also wants statutory damages and attorneys' fees.

Patterson says he experienced severe difficulties because of lack of social maturity after he skipped from the first to the second grade, leaving him younger that most of his classmates. His problems continued as the years passed, so he turned to home-schooling on the advice of his psychologist and school principal, the suit states. He also was moved back from the ninth to the eighth grade.

CIFSS rules allow student athletes to compete in up to eight consecutive semesters after starting the ninth grade, according to the suit. Patterson, who came to Crespi in 2010, falls outside that limit this year, because he was home-schooled for a semester in the ninth grade in 2009, and that counted against him, his suit says.

Patterson sought a hardship waiver and cited his disability, but the CIFSS rejected his application and his initial appeals, according to his court papers.

--City News Service

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