Skip to main content

The parents of a star high school quarterback suspended for Friday's championship game are suing the Minnesota State High School League.

Sam Backer, the starting quarterback for the Chatfield Gophers varsity football team, was called for two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties during the team's 22-18 semifinals win over Barnesville last week. Per MSHSL rules, that resulted in Backer being ejected from the game — and suspended for the following contest.

In this case, that happens to be the Class AA state championship game against West Central Area/Ashby at U.S. Bank Stadium this Friday at 1 p.m.

On Tuesday, Backer's parents filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court, arguing the high school league's actions are "unconstitutional" and demanding Backer be allowed to play in the finals. They're also asking for monetary damages in an amount to be determined.

Their protest boils down to a lack of a review process, with the plaintiffs writing:

"Under Minnesota law, interscholastic sports participation is a constitutionally protected property right included as part of a student’s right to an education, which cannot be taken away without due process," the suit says. Because the MSHSL doesn't have a way to quickly appeal the calls, Backer is being "denied a constitutionally protected property right without due process."

The referees called two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on Backer, one in the second quarter and one in the third, the lawsuit states. But the junior "disagrees" with the conclusions, saying he was not the instigator. With regard to the second call, Backer's actions (which aren't described in the lawsuit) "were a reaction to the twisting of his ankle to protect his own safety."

The suit asks for a review from a neutral third-party to determine if the calls were accurate. But given it is Thanksgiving week and the game is mere days away, they are asking the court to issue an injunction that would prevent the MSHSL from enforcing Backer's suspension until the case is fully resolved. 

Post Bulletin reporter Guy Limbeck got a quote from the Chatfield head coach after the game:

"As a direct and proximate cause of the action or inactions of the MSHSL, SB has suffered significant social, emotional, and educational harm and has been damaged in an amount to be determined at trial," the suit says.

A motion hearing was set for noon Wednesday.

Bring Me The News has reached out to the MSHSL for comment.

Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

Next Up

image

BREAKING: Rescue efforts underway for 100+ stuck on ice chunk on Minnesota lake

Red Lake — both Upper and Lower — is the largest freshwater lake in the state.

Screen Shot 2022-11-28 at 9.38.30 AM

St. Paul featured on Hallmark Channel's 'Christmas Cam' livestream

Downtown's dazzling display can be viewed from anywhere in the world.

JamborMugshot

Charges: Drunk driver almost struck Bemidji parade spectators

The man told police he was trying to attend the parade himself.

6

The SCHEELS Experience

Whether looking for reliable hunting and fishing gear or new clothing and shoes, Eden Prairie SCHEELS is a one-stop shopping experience for the whole family.

0

Charges: Man fatally shot ex's new partner as he dined at Bloomington restaurant

Criminal charges filed Monday detail an alleged motive in the shooting.

MetallicaLiveLondonWikimedia

Metallica to perform 2 nights in Minneapolis on 2023-24 World Tour

The heavy metal rock band returns to the state for the first time since 2018.

snow, plow

Tuesday storm to dump plowable snow in Minnesota

Snow should reach the Twin Cities Tuesday morning and fall throughout the day.

Screen Shot 2022-11-28 at 6.57.31 AM

Police: Drunk-driver almost struck people watching parade in Bemidji

The man was arrested for DWI charges following the incident.

police tape

3 at trauma centers in critical condition after rural MN attack

Two victims and the alleged attacker are in critical condition.

grinch neighbor

Neighborhood 'grinch' sends letter to Burnsville family over holiday lights

A Burnsville family's holiday decorations were the subject of an anonymous complaint.

Related

unsplash football helmet ground

Judge upholds star QBs suspension for state championship game

Sam Backer, of Chatfield Senior High, won't be allowed to play in Friday's title game.

high school football

High school football, volleyball to return this fall, MSHSL decides

The league's board held an emergency meeting on Monday.

Screen Shot 2022-02-12 at 8.38.31 AM

After in-game attack, Duluth schools to set 'sportsmanship expectations'

There will be a list of specific consequences for unsportsmanlike conduct, the district said.

Steve Walsh

Cretin-Derham Hall hires former NFL QB, Heisman finalist as head coach

He's one of the most decorated quarterbacks to ever come from Minnesota.

basketball

Only 'school-approved' fans to be allowed at MSHSL tournament games

The MSHSL announced limited access due to the coronavirus.

boys volleyball

MSHSL to vote on adding girls wrestling, boys volleyball tournaments

A two-thirds majority vote is needed to pass the proposals.