Monday, April 1, 2024

MHSAA Bans Track Star for Being a Track Star

Andrew Brown may be one of the leading track stars in Mississippi but the MHSAA banned him from participating in the 2024 track & field season. His crime?  Brown dared to compete in the New Balance National Indoor Track & Field Championships in March, a non-MHSAA event. The Monolith was not pleased.  

Brown is a freshman at Tupelo High School who competes in cross-country and track.  How good is Brown?  The speedster leads the nation in the 1600m for high school athletes after he ran it in 4:18 minutes earlier this year.  It was the eighth-fastest time among all freshmen who have ever competed in the event.  

The Tupelo lad has been nothing short of a track prodigy during his short career.  He competed in varsity events last year while he was in eighth grade, placing third in 6A in the 1600m and fifth in cross-country.   

Unfortunately for Brown, there are no indoor tracks in Mississippi as there are in other states such as Louisiana and Alabama.  No indoor tracks means there is no indoor track season.  This is where the fun begins. 

Brown managed to qualify for the New Balance Nationals in Boston, the only Mississippi track and field athlete to do so.  However, this is Mississippi where excellence is punished and incompetence is rewarded.  

Someone filed a complaint against Brown with MHSAA.  Jim Brown, Andrew's father, said the Tupelo High School Athletic Director notified him of the complaint the night before his son was leaving for Boston.    MHSAA did not reveal who filed the complaint.  It was the first time such a complaint was ever filed with MHSAA.  

Brown traveled to Boston and competed, placing 87 among 114 athletes.  

It turned out there is an obscure MHSAA rule that states an athlete can't compete unattached in an event not sanctioned by MHSAA.  The complainant argued young Brown violated the rule by running the race without MHSAA approval after MHSAA's outdoor track and field season had already commenced on March 1.  The Nationals took place March 7-10.  

MHSAA stated in a letter addressed to Tupelo High School: 

On March 7, 2024, Tupelo High School self-reported that a student athlete participated in an indoor track meet after the season ended (February 3, 2024).  It is our understanding in the MHSAA office that the student athlete ran in an indoor meet on March 12, 204 - violating rule 6.2.3, page 54, MHSAA handbook.  This student athlete is considered ineligible to participate in track for the remainder of the 2023-2024 school year. 

Since Tupelo High School removed this student athlete from participating during track season, there will be no sanctions placed on Tupelo High School.  

The rule states: 

A student who is a member of a MHSAA school team shall not participate in any manner in any event in a meet or a contest as an unattached contestant against a high school team, a junior high school team, a collegiate team, a club team or other unattached individuals in that same sport. One individual shall constitute a team in indoor and outdoor track and field.

There is just one problem.  There is no indoor track season in Mississippi so MHSAA is punishing Brown for competing outside of a season that does not exist.   

Brown's father  was completely exasperated with the decision. "Obviously, we are very frustrated and disappointed.  It's almost laughable they would so something as ridiculous as this.  To hold back one of your top athletes in the state and keep him from competing in an event he qualified for is beyond absurdity.  MHSAA argues they don't want kids competing outside Mississippi.  That's why Mississippi is 50 in a lot of things, that mentality is holding it back.  MHSAA is like 20 years behind the game.  This is a different era we are living in now," said Jim Brown.  

Brown said MHSAA claims competing in the Nationals gives Andrew Brown an unfair advantage.   

The Browns are appealing the ban.  A hearing will be held Thursday.  

Kingfish note:  Brown is not the only Mississippi track star to participate in the Nationals.  Check out this April  2016 Clarion-Ledger article. 

Yup, the Clinton High School 4 x 200 relay team placed in the 2016 Nationals but that was apparently ok with MHSAA as it acquitted itself quite well during the 2016 MHSAA track & field season.  

One little thought.  Tupelo's biggest rival is Pearl High School in track.  You don't think..... nah, that wouldn't happen, right? 


Anonymous said...

I hope they end up firing everyone associated with this abomination

Anonymous said...

Eventually this absurdity should get before a judge, who can strike down that rule.

This is obviously a case of the letter destroying the spirit: Winning by any means necessary v. sportsmanship and competition.

Anonymous said...

Is AAU Basketball and Travel Teams in Baseball OK with MHSAA?

Anonymous said...

Stay trashy Pearl.

Anonymous said...

So let’s say I’m a hotshot baseball prospect that plays for the local high school and I compete in a national home run derby. Is MHSAA gonna get their feelings hurt?

Anonymous said...


Cheer, volleyballl, soccer and swim are wondering the same thing.

Anonymous said...

This is bullshit.

Anonymous said...

@ 10:42 & 10:46...
There's one way to find out, start filing them complaints!

Anonymous said...

I don't know anything about travel baseball. Is it considered a "club team"? If so, aren't all the travel baseball players by definition "unattached" since these are not high school affiliated teams? Better yet, what if one of the opposing teams at a tournament in Florida is called "Palm Beach High School"? I think there are a lot situations where a large number of high school baseball players are in violation of the rules. The vest wearing fathers will go nuts if that rule was enforced.

Anonymous said...

"A student who is a member of a MHSAA school team shall not participate in any manner in any event in a meet or a contest as an unattached contestant against a high school team, a junior high school team, a collegiate team, a club team or other unattached individuals in that same sport. One individual shall constitute a team in indoor and outdoor track and field."

I read this to say that a member is not allowed to even meet up in the street in front of his house with other neighborhood kids & play ball or race each other. Is that right?

Anonymous said...

A bunch of old football and basketball coaches think, well if we can’t practice all year round then nobody else can either. Imagine a track runner not being able to run nine months out of a year.

Anonymous said...

That kid should come back and compete after his suspension as a girl. Just to mess with the idiots at MHSAA

Anonymous said...

So if I am a high school runner, I can’t compete in the Watermelon 5k? Or the MS Blues Marathon? Of Boston Marathon?

Anonymous said...

What a self own by MSHAA.

Memphis Volleyball Academy (located in Southaven MS) would like a word!

Infinity Volleyball Academy (Adidas affiliate) located in Ridgeland Mississippi would like a word too.

Allie Hazelwood (Madison Central class of 2023) was a freshman setter for UCLA this year, played for Infinity Volleyball Academy 2017-2022.

Bonus! MSHAA about to find out that more than a few of these AAU and club team parents are capable of lighting a big fire under the sorry asses of the MSHAA should they decide to do so.

Anonymous said...

He gained an advantage by running outside of season. When track is over, I guess runners can’t run. And weight lifters can’t lift. What advantage is gained by running in a meet versus running around the block? Running is running.

Anonymous said...

As always: Mississippi's ingrown fatcats are inventing new ways to help keep Mississippi losing!

Anonymous said...

11:45 - NO, you may not. That would be unfair because you tried to better yourself with additional training under competitive conditions.

Saltwaterpappy said...

It seems like we are all libertarians on this topic.

Anonymous said...

All star cheer competition season is most definitely after state comp. Woooweee that’s a bunch of high strung and well funded mommas to piss off should the MHSAA decide to enforce this rule as it’s written. What a stupid hill to die on, MHSAA.

anonymous said...

I have dealt with MHSAA in soccer and found the organization to be Kafka-esque. Their rules are established by "members". The executive director is accountable only to the members, which practically means no one, since the members don't convene and discuss matters "until next year".
MHSAA appeared tone-deaf to select sports, even implementing a rule limiting the number of select players playing on a school team.
Watch a select game and then watch a high school game with no select players. the former has skilled players. the latter has athletes with marginal skills which translates into more injuries.
So, regretfully, this incident involving the Tupelo runner is not surprising.
Best wishes, Andrew Brown.

Anonymous said...

11:47 is spot on about volleyball, although Allie Hazelwood is at USC, not UCLA.

The MHSAA is antiquated - everything from their website to their rules to their championship experience. The reason they went to 7 classes is to make more money, not because it was needed.

If the MHSAA can make a buck, they are going to do it, no matter what.

Remember a fee years ago when a FedEx executive's son transferred from a school in Memphis to Olive Branch. It was a by the book illegal transfer - but somehow FedEx became a two year MHSAA sponsor about the same time. Someone from the Clarion Ledger actually asked then-MHSAA Executive Director about it in a press conference and he sleazed out of it.

Anonymous said...

Under this rule it sounds like if I challenge any high school runner to a foot race around the parking lot as an unattached runner and some trashy school complains, they’re breaking the rule. Insane.

Anonymous said...

Best wishes to this young lad and his father, may they rise above the MHSAA. Unbelievable!

Anonymous said...

Holy crap, almost every non-football athlete at a 7A school would be banned if this is held up.

Basketball, Soccer, Baseball/Softball, Swim, Volleyball, Golf, Tennis, etc. all have athletes that participate in club versions of their sport and compete out of state.

lo effin l said...

Just took a look at the MSHAA website looking for the track rules online.

Land on the page, hover over "Schools", a person sees a link for "Tourament Drawings" just above the link for "Rules."

Spelling is hard, proofreading is harder!

Anonymous said...

"Watch a select game and then watch a high school game with no select players. the former has skilled players. the latter has athletes with marginal skills which translates into more injuries."

A little over 20 years ago when I was playing ball and MCHS, a new coach came in and made it known that you would not make the high school team if you were not playing on select team in the summer.

Anonymous said...

There is confusion about "club" sports. High school athletes can compete in club sports outside of sanctioned HS season and outside of their HS team, but in each sport there is a limitation on how many athletes from one HS team can compete on the same club team. If all ten basketball players on a HS team played on the same club team after the season, the HS team would effectively be playing together year-round. Thus the rule. I don't like it, I think the limits are too tight, but I understand the need for the rule.

But how this concept applies to an individual runner who participates outside the state in an event that our state does not offer? I cannot see the application. Like somebody said, the committee is probably a bunch of football and basketball coaches who don't like their own teams being limited, so if we can't, you can't.

Anonymous said...

Once again, we are hearing only one side of the situation. KF, how about posting the MHSAA's "rest of the story".

Anonymous said...

So all USATF certified charity runs, as they are "a contest," are banned too? This is insane. But, start first with money ball. Classic corruption. The HS coaches are eaten up with that good ole boy system. Far too many C- students might have to find an actual job if they do.

Anonymous said...

We don't have wrestling, Lacrosse (very few) and many other sports the rest of the country participates in as well, seems like they could focus their attention on bring these sports into MS rather than penalize an up and coming star for having to go out of state in order to compete.

Anonymous said...

If indoor track and outdoor track are different sports, then that's like saying that football players in the Fall can't play baseball in the Spring. Pretty sure this kid is not the first one to break this "rule". I'm thinking he'll be getting a full ride to college from the MHSAA coffers if they try to make this stick.

Anonymous said...

2:30,maybe. He'll compete in the MAIS or transfer to Tennessee as a homeschooler until the ban is over or the court overturns. Screw the MHSAA.

Anonymous said...

Somebody set up a gofundme for his legal bill. I'll donate.

Anonymous said...

They need to get a good constitutional law attorney and seek an injunction in federal court under the 14th Amendment. For starters.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and they need to do that posthaste. All kind of savvy lawyers in that neck of the woods who know their way around federal court.

Anonymous said...

all of this todo over 87 out of 114 - wow.

Anonymous said...

Are the folks at MSHAA good at depositions?

They might want to start practicing before the season starts!

Anonymous said...

Kingfish's post: "However, this is Mississippi where excellence is punished and incompetence is rewarded."

Or perhaps better phrased, "Mississippi: Most of our exseelants done left so about all we has left is incompeetents." Maybe COJ and MHSAA can merge and show folks what real fucking up is.

Anonymous said...

I feel sure that a school within the MAIS would welcome this track star with open arms and he would still be able to run against some of the larger public schools in MS.

Anonymous said...

Already love this kid....sounds like what Prefontaine would have done.

When meaningless sports associations start flexing their muscles to match totalitarian governments, you know times are bad. Legendary athletes will do what they want and defy any/all "authority" JUST to compete.

Wish we had the spirit back in college football.

Anonymous said...

Haha 5:18 nails it. Go to a MAIS school and enter MHSAA events. We have inter-association competition after all. Set records at all the MHSAA events. Rules will change. He still has four years.

Anonymous said...

something like this could only happen in a place as screwed up as mississippi.

the monster pick up driving white trash rednecks of this state hate distance runners when they see them on the road.

they consider runners to be ''in their way''.

Anonymous said...

I doubt there is a single baseball player in the state that has not competed in a non-MHSAA event.

If you think this is an outlier of incompetence, think again. I have dealt with the MHSAA for over 30 years. Believe me, merit has zero to do with any job.

These clowns could have hired Mike Kent fifteen years ago but the decision required a choice: competency or incompetency?

You can see what the MHSAA prefers.

Anonymous said...

10:37 said, "I hope they end up firing everyone associated with this abomination."

A pay raise is more likely.

Anonymous said...

Where does the MHSAA get the authority to say a student at a public high school can't compete?

MHSAA is a private, non-profit corporation. It is not an administrative agency, or otherwise operating under color of law, as far as I can tell. If the public high school refuses to let him compete, that's another story.

That said, whoever filed the complaint, whoever decided they needed to "self-report" this "infraction," and whoever decided to disqualify this kid, need to all have their whistles taken away.

Anonymous said...

What about all these 7 on 7 football comps? I feel certain several Brandon HS QB’s, WR’s, & RB’s have been in them. Randy, aren’t you on the board or whatever you call it?

Anonymous said...

Runners are in the way.

And so are bicyclists.

Hell, anyone in a sh--ty car from Copiah County needs to get off the roads too.

Anonymous said...

Didn't this happen with Bianca Knight, from Ridgeland H.S., who won a Gold in the Olympic Games?

Anonymous said...

The Governor needs to get these ridiculous sports issues such as this on the high school level all straighten out! The athlete is the one getting hurt for his incredible efforts and he will not the last one either! I am sick of the constant politics of these hs sport associations targeting well desiring athletes and their families esp. when we do not have adequate sporting facilities!

HELL, we need more enclosed sports facilities built so that our high school athletes can get even better while the money is there to build them.

Anonymous said...


It wasn't as big of a deal for her because she wasn't running high school track at all after she became a national star and got endorsements. She just chose to run the national/world circuit instead of MHSAA so it was never an issue.

Look, I've dealt with the MHSAA for 20+ years. They are completely incompetent in all areas (see multiple misspellings on their website just to start) and they have no desire to get better. I had a nephew that made the Alabama Super 7 (their basketball Final Four) and it was like going to a major NCAA event vs. the crap the MHSAA puts on for their championships.

It's not the 80s anymore. The lack of a digital network hampers support for MHSAA events. At one state championship event, they set up an iPhone on a tripod and just hit the start button. No graphics, no commentary, nothing.

Anonymous said...

My grandkids who run for their high schools in other states and have competed in the New Balance track event without their schools' objection or needing permission! Other runners from their states were also there. They ran in their own name as individuals, not for a school.

Indeed, I love that I can "see" them compete in the New Balance event online or on UTube from here Mississippi or if travelling!

Is the "ban" because if the runner qualifies for New Balance during the season, coaches don't get a free trip and to share in the recognition? Is it that the runner can enter on their own or with the help of the adult they/their family chooses to accompany them and the announcers talk only about the runner and their record?

I can better understand if it's a "team" event like a relay but, track and field is mostly individuals and boys/girls events are separate. That you get more than one qualifying from the same town, much less the same school qualifying in the 500 or 800 would be rare...twins...siblings close in age???? Haven't see that these last several years but...

As an "old" person...I really hate how adults and money have absolutely tainted sports. They have turned amateur sports into a business when kids can barely walk! No more do kids learn to organize their own games when young but now betting is legal for college sports? No more playing in parks with their own friends and family supervising only when someone gets bruised or reminded to " play nice". Can't see a ref being compromised or threatened into helping the gambler's spread with calls? We regiment every moment of childhood and are surprised when the kids can't manage their own life as adults!

Anonymous said...

to just got trolled. but so long as you are here tell us what you do to those runners when you see em while driving your jacked up 90,000.00$ pickup?
tell us how you get em outta your way?

Anonymous said...

MHSAA must be run by Democrats

Anonymous said...

"We regiment every moment of childhood and are surprised when the kids can't manage their own life as adults!"

And take all the fun out of childhood. Maybe we should let kids be kids again, instead of treating childhood like a never-ending training camp.

Anonymous said...

in a state that has a 40% obesity rate , distance running and endurance sports are not very popular. all of the lard asses on the MHSAA must have thought they could use this kid to show what tough guys they are.

Anonymous said...

I can't see'em. My truck is so jacked up in front that I don't see much of anything.

Anonymous said...

But it’s against the rules
Who made the rule
We did
Then change the damn rule

Anonymous said...

Well, there's ole Sam Hall of the Tupelo Daily Bird Gager:

"Remember a fee years ago when a FedEx executive's son transferred from a school in Memphis to Olive Branch. It was a by the book illegal transfer - but somehow FedEx became a two year MHSAA sponsor about the same time. Someone from the Clarion Ledger actually asked then-MHSAA Executive Director about it in a press conference and he sleazed out of it."
April 1, 2024 at 12:30 PM

Anonymous said...

MHSAA has acted as though they were the SEC for years, but what kind of horrible human filed the motion to begin with? Grow up.

Anonymous said...

If they are going to selectively enforce this archaic rule, they better be disqualifying all the soccer players that play club tournaments during HS season. That would effectively disqualify over half of the players both boys and girls playing HS Soccer. I am sure the same can be said for Baseball also. MHSAA has hindered the growth of HS Sports at every turn. They are a bunch of fat cats making huge salaries to be "Good Ole Boys". This kid has been irreplaceably done WRONG!

Anonymous said...

Did this athlete sign a contract with MHSAA? If not, the rule does not apply. He must have signed a contract and acknowledgment of rules. Otherwise it is an invalid suspension.

Anonymous said...

2:21, can a minor legally enter into a contract?

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