GoFundMe seeks help fighting MN athlete's suspension

The family is looking to raise money for legal fees as they challenge the teen's four-game suspension in court.
Publish date:

Though GoFundMe has become a popular go-to for families seeking financial assistance after devastating illnesses or accidents, one Minnesota family has turned to the crowdfunding site for something quite different: help fighting a controversial call in high school sports. 

Earlier this month, Marco Cavallaro, a football player with East Ridge High School in Woodbury, was ejected from a game and suspended "4 1/2 games" over a targeting penalty, his GoFundMe page says. 

As the page's introduction points out, "there is no way to appeal a bad call/ejection in high school football" under Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) rules.

In a letter to MSHSL, which was shared on GoFundMe, the family says the suspension "has the chance to effectively end Marco’s high school career and jeopardize his college recruitment."

The letter promises the Cavallaros will "pursue legal action" if the punishment is not overturned – by Tuesday, Oct. 23.

Now that that date has passed, the family is asking the public for help raising $5,000 to cover attorney fees.

As of this writing, the effort has raised $425. 

The targeting penalty 

As the Cavallaros lay out in their letter to MSHSL, Marco is accused of having made an unnecessary and excessive targeting hit – deliberate, illegal helmet contact above the shoulders – against the quarterback from Centennial High, who East Ridge were playing that night. 

However, the letter says, Marco "clearly hit the opposing player with his shoulder," something the family maintains can be seen in video from the game.

They point out the referee's call was inconsistent with the MSHSL's definition of targeting offenses.

For its part, Centennial High's football coach said their quarterback "was not injured in the play" and that "Centennial is not upset with it," according to the Pioneer Press.

The paper also reports that MSHSL executive director Erich Martens released a statement on the matter, saying the organization's "bylaw language clearly states ‘The decisions of contest officials are final’ and therefore there is no option for appeal.”

The current status of the Cavallaros' case is not clear. 

Next Up

Chauvin trial

Walz declares emergency in Twin Cities, bringing in police from Ohio and Nebraska

The governor has asked the Legislature for emergency funding for the additional police.

derek chauvin court - closing arguments

Closing arguments in Derek Chauvin trial: Here's what was said

The jury listened to lengthy presentations from the prosecution and defense.


Man, 55, airlifted to a hospital after hit-and-run in Granite Falls

The passenger in the vehicle told police about the incident.

Minneapolis, unrest

Facebook labels Minneapolis 'high-risk,' will remove posts that incite violence

Facebook will remove posts that call for weapons to be brought to Minneapolis and anything that celebrates George Floyd's death.


After being sued, MyPillow is now suing Dominion

The company's lawsuit claims the voting system suppressed free speech and hurt its business relationships.

Chet Holmgren

Chet Holmgren makes his decision ... and it's Gonzaga

The Minnesota basketball phenom is following the footsteps of Jalen Suggs.

Sarah Glover

MPR News hires NBC's Sarah Glover as new managing editor

The experienced journalist was the first to serve two terms as president of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ).

football play

Watch: Sixth-grader with cerebral palsy makes touchdown in Detroit Lakes

Kale Hannahs' classmates made sure he got a chance to play during recess.

coronavirus, covid-19

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Monday, April 19

The latest from Minnesota health officials.

Trey Sermon

5 running backs the Vikings could select in the NFL Draft

Who could the Vikings add to their backfield?

Brooklyn Center, protest, Daunte Wright

Letter details CNN journalist's arrest experience during Daunte Wright protests

Media outlets sent a letter to officials following a phone conference about the mistreatment of the press over the weekend.



Oakdale Cat fighting for life after being trapped in washing machine

"Felix" survived a 35-minute wash cycle but still has a long road to recovery.

James Hong

Campaign seeks Walk of Fame star for legendary Minnesota native

Even if you don't know James Hong by name, you know his face.

Twin Cities family seeking help after son dies of CO poisoning

He was a DREAMer and health care worker who had graduated college in December.

Nurse Rachel Zanmiller, who's battling cancer.

After post-birth cancer diagnosis, MN nurse's family asking for help

Rachel Zanmiller has been battling leukemia since giving birth last month.

Jacob Babcock

Fundraiser seeks to help man who was shot while stopping a carjacking

It happened outside Sherwin Williams in Uptown Minneapolis.

Ashli K. Johnson

Family seeks help after mother of 4 gunned down in St. Paul

Ashli K. Johnson's death is still under investigation.

Minnesota nurse Megan Chao Smith

MN nurse raising money, PPE, food and housing for frontline health workers

She had to leave the COVID-19 effort, so she's helping another way.