MHSAA, High School Sports, Basketball, Clarkston, Macomb Dakota, Thomas Kithier

CLARKSTON, Mich. (WWJ/AP) — The group that oversees Michigan high school sports is firing back in response to a lawsuit filed by a star basketball player who has been benched.

The Michigan High School Athletic Association says there’s no constitutional right to play sports. In a court filing Monday, the association says Thomas Kithier’s claim of emotional distress “does not pass the laugh test.”

Kithier has been barred from playing for defending champion Clarkston after transferring from Dakota for his senior year. The MHSAA says he’s ineligible because the transfer was motivated by sports and a desire to play with a former AAU teammate.

Kithier insists he transferred because of academics. A federal judge is holding a hearing on Thursday. His attorney — Steve Fishman — filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction that would allow the 18-year-old to play the second half of the season.

“I can tell you what can end this case 15 minutes from now is for the MHSAA to tell us Thomas Kithier can be eligible for basketball Jan. 15, just like any other transfer in the state of Michigan,” Fishman said. “If that happens, damages and all of the rest of it is irrelevant, out the window and the case would be over with.”

Kithier plans to play basketball next fall at Michigan State.

© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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