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St. Thomas More to take legal action to keep basketball team in playoffs after fight ends season

Posted at 10:47 PM, Mar 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-08 23:47:27-05

MILWAUKEE — St. Thomas More High School is now pursuing legal action to try to reinstate its varsity boys basketball team in the state tournament after a fight last week ended its season.

Coach John Hoch says he plans to file an injunction naming the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association, or WIAA, in Milwaukee County Court. He hopes there will be some sort of discussion on the record Wednesday morning.

"The goal is for our team to continue playing," Hoch said.

It all started last Friday when Fuller Academy was playing St. Thomas More, and video shows one player push another, and a player push back. Then a crowd gathered.

The WIAA suspended both teams for leaving the bench.

Coach Hoch says he understands the rule, and in this case he believes the circumstances are different.

"I think that rule is made so players don't go out onto the court and participate in a fight, but in this case we were actually protecting ourselves as a fight was heading toward us," Hoch said.

St. Thomas More was given the option of playing its junior varsity team during the next scheduled game against Brown Deer, but Coach Hoch turned that down. The team forfeited, and its season ended.

Now Brown Deer is scheduled to play Dominican High School on Wednesday night.

"We are asking them to pause that game and allow the WIAA to set up a game between Thomas More and Brown Deer," Hoch said.

Hoch first filed an appeal with the WIAA. A spokesperson says its rules don't allow for that.

Hoch then decided to try legal action.

"The overwhelming response that I received on Sunday morning through Sunday afternoon really made me think a lot about this," Hoch said. "Parents, students, faculty and staff, alums, and then even strangers, people I didn't even know, were reaching out and really kind of weren't happy with the decision that was made."

Fuller Academy's coach could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

TMJ4 News reached out to officials at Brown Deer and Dominican High Schools.

The athletic director at Brown Deer High School responded in an email, "We will continue to support our Brown Deer Falcons boys basketball team."

The WIAA has not yet provided a comment on the legal action at the time of this article.

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