Taylorsville senior Jared Tupaii's high school football career is over.
Third District Judge Stephen Henroid ruled in favor of the Utah High School Activities Association on Tuesday, denying Tupaii's request for a temporary restraining order in hopes of getting his high school football eligibility reinstated.
Tupaii transferred from Murray to Taylorsville in August. In two separate hearings with the UHSAA, he said he transferred to live with his mother, who lives near Taylorsville High and because he wasn't doing well academically at Murray High.
Both panels deemed the request athletically motivated and ruled him ineligible.
In his lawsuit against the UHSAA, Tupaii claimed two things: First his due process was violated by not having an attorney present at his first hearing. Secondly, he's received interest from college football programs, but he's been advised that he won't receive a scholarship unless he plays his senior year.
Judge Henroid's decision stated the following:
"I find that there is no evidence that Jared Tupaii has had his right to due process compromised. I find that not being able to play football his senior year at Taylorsville High does not constitute irreparable harm, nor does the highly speculative possibility that if he played, he might receive scholarship offers. I find that the balance of damage between Mr. Tupaii and (UHSAA) is not a significant issue ... nor that there are serious issues that deserve judicial attention."
Even though he hasn't practiced with Taylorsville's football team yet this season, Tupaii was hoping that if the Judge Henroid sided with him he could play in Taylorsville's final three regular season games.
Henroid said there were no new facts presented during the TRO hearing to justify overturning the UHSAA's decision.
"Plaintiff has failed to bear his burden of proof, and the relief sought, which would be a mandatory injunction requiring this court to substitute its judgment for two UHSAA panels with an almost total absence of facts would be a miscarriage of justice.
In comments made on Monday after appearing in court, Tupaii said if things don't go his way he'd enroll at Snow College after his senior year and try and walk-on to junior college football team.
"I don't regret (transferring to Taylorsville) at all," said Tupaii. "It just hurts not to play."
Since transferring, Tupaii says he's improved his GPA from under a 2.0 to a 3.2.Tupaii and his attorney Mark Ethington can still schedule a preliminary injunction hearing with the court, but it's unlikely considering the time frame.
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