Lawsuit claims Black students disadvantaged from transfer rules by Archdiocese of Detroit

Attorney Jon Marko is crying foul over what he calls a racially discriminatory rule at the Catholic High School League and Archdiocese of Detroit.

“This is Jim Crow-type stuff. They have no place in Michigan in 2022,” he said.

Marko says the rule puts transfer students from predominantly Black communities at a disadvantage, and he’s representing families connected to Orchard Lake St Mary’s.

“Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, which is a Catholic institution and operating under these rules, said this isn’t fair,” he said. “And Orchard Lake Saint Mary’s has been trying to work internally with the Diocese to just let these kids be treated fairly and play.”

The suit says the Catholic High School League has a boarding transfer student rule that green lights eligibility for all transfers to take part in sports – except those coming from, or living in the Archdiocese of Detroit or Lansing.

Areas that suit says, includes Michigan counties with the highest number of Black residents, prompting Black transfer students to wait between 91 and 181 school days before they are cleared to play ball.

“If you’re a Black kid from Detroit and you transfer to Orchard Lake St Mary’s, you’re going to be treated differently than if you’re a white kid from Grand Rapids or up north,” said Marko. “Or even across the street from a boundary line.”

We reached out to the Archdiocese of Detroit for a reaction to the lawsuit. The administration sent FOX 2 a brief statement that says:

“We categorically deny the claims in the lawsuit but will not be commenting further on pending litigation.”

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