Youth Leagues Biting Off More Than They Can Chew

Courtroom spike

Audrey Dimitrew, a 16 year old club volleyball player, and her family have decided to press charges on the Chesapeake Region Volleyball Association (CHRVA) after the league would not permit her to switch teams, denying her request for release from the team after she was receiving insufficient playing time.  This youth sports dispute is one of many in recent months, believing that the judicial system has the ability to intervene on matters of playing time and league guidelines.  The lawsuit was filed in March after the refusal to release Dimitrew, for the league believed it would be setting a “bad precedent” if the only prerequisite for discharge from the league was to be unsatisfied with playing time on the court.  Instead, the league handbook denotes valid reasoning for dismissal lays in a player undergoing a “verifiable hardship,” something the league believes Dimitrew did not face.  This lawsuit brings into question the inevitable disputes between parents, players, and coaches, and if such disagreements are cause for litigation.

The Dimitrew family firmly states they are not suing over playing time, but rather for Audrey’s inability to be released from the CHRVA.  Kenneth G. Stallard, the attorney for the league, refused to comment on litigation brought about by the Dimitrews.  Since Audrey has missed most of the season due to these matters, it looks like she will be eligible for release only at the start of a new volleyball season. When brought to court, Judge John M. Tran was very sympathetic towards Audrey and felt that her unhappiness with the league was “unfortunate,” however he was forced to defer the decision of Audrey’s release to the league.  In summary, all attorneys for all parties involved, including the league, the team, and the Dimitrew family, declined comment to the press.  In turn, Audrey and her family have reached out to many news outlets in order to shed light on her story and bring attention to the injustices of the youth sports world.

This issue is similar to many cases brought to court in recent years involving youth and amateur athletic teams.  A Camden, New Jersey man sued his son’s high school track team for failure to make the team, citing a verifiable reason for litigation in that his son’s scholarship opportunities for the collegiate level had been drastically reduced.  North Carolina parents sought personal injury claims from their son’s baseball coach for a routine play gone wrong at a practice.  The question remains as to what is unjust versus a matter of the game, and what should and should not be brought up in court respectively.  Overall, youth sports organizations are seemingly held to a much higher standard and hold much more responsibility with their athletes than ever before.