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Rule would ban felons from Wisconsin high school tournaments

(CBS 58) -- Anyone charged with a felony would be unable to play in state high school tournaments, if a proposed rule is pushed through the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletics Association.

The rule is a response to a Milwaukee area Washington High School taking his team to the state championship game after being charged with armed robbery.

Deontay Long averaged 29 points a game, after he was part of a group that robbed someone at gunpoint. Long eventually pleaded guilty.

“We received a lot of feedback," WIAA director Dave Anderson said. "A lot of criticism quite honestly from, mostly the general public, but some of our own member schools.”

The WIAA  met Tuesday to talk about the ban.

“Given the response, and the reaction, we thought it would be a good idea to engage the members in a conversation," Anderson said.

The proposal would ban anyone convicted  or charged with a felony from playing in WIAA tournaments for their high school career.

But Daniel Storm protested at the meeting, saying only those convicted of felonies should be banned. He said it's not fair to kids wrongfully charged.

“We don’t punish kids, we don’t ruin their futures. We don’t destroy their dreams.”

Storm points out that in 2016 Lake Geneva’s Blake Dodd was charged with a felony, which was eventually reduced to three Class A misdemeanors.

Dodd was ultimately given probation, but would have been banned from tournaments under the new rule.

Storm says if the rule passes, the WIAA will be sued.

“I will bring legal aid and the ACLU to test this in federal court.”

There are more than 500 members of the WIAA.

If their board of control pushes this proposal through, it would be brought to a vote of those members in April.

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