MARTINSBURG, W. Va. (WDVM) – On Thursday morning, in the Berkeley County Circuit Court case “Emily Beck vs. WVSSAC”, the Judge, Steven Redding, ruled to grant a temporary restraining order against the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission, in the case involving Berkeley County soccer players.
This would directly affect the state soccer tournament, at the AAA level, and would work against conducting the boys and girls tournaments.
In the initial hearing, the WVSSAC argued that the venue was improper in Berkeley County; and the court lacked jurisdiction to grant a temporary restraining order because the state tournament is being conducted in Raleigh County. However; under this ruling, the Court finds that the WVSSAC is acting in Berkeley County to prohibit the petitioner, Ms. Beck, and her fellow soccer players from participating. The ruling also states that it would be impractical and unjust to have the players from Berkeley County to seek relief in Raleigh County, just because the tournament is scheduled in that area.
According to this order, the Court argues that, while the WVSSAC has initially prohibited Berkeley County from participating in the soccer state tournament to protect others from infection; that is counter-intuitive as the WVSSAC is allowing participating teams from other counties with infection rates two and a half times that of Berkeley County; sighting the example of Ohio County who have a 47.95 infection rate per 100,000, while Berkeley County’s rate is 19.3 per 100,000.
In the order, the Court also finds that a delay in the tournament would not harm the WVSSAC, and that there was no evidence that alternative arrangements couldn’t be made, to offset the $20,000 loss that the WVSSAC cited. Even with that citation, the Court found that the harm done to the Berkeley County student athletes would outweigh the expenses for the WVSSAC. The petitioner will not have to post a surety bond of $20,000, to offset costs with delaying the tournament.
In the order, it is also mentioned that this temporary restraining order would be in the public’s best interest; including implications these issues and addressing them may have, as they would share connection with the WVSSAC’s eligibility rules in other sports such as volleyball, football, and basketball.
There will be another hearing next Thursday, November 12th, at 2:00 PM at the Berkeley County Judicial Center.