Mother fighting IHSAA over deaf daughter’s right to play softball

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – A Central Indiana mother is going after the Indiana High School Athletic Association after she claims they violated her daughter’s civil rights.

16-year-old Alexandra ‘Ally’ Creech loves softball and she’s pretty good at it. But there’s something slowing her down from playing for a school near her home in Bloomington.

When Ally was younger, she suffered an appendicitis. Her mom said a bad reaction to her medicine resulted in a loss of hearing over time.

“Ally now has a 70-80% loss left to right,” said Lisa Combs-Creech.

Now, she explained, Ally needs a full-time interpreter to attend school. However, most high schools in her area cannot provide one.

So Ally enrolled in a virtual school and as soon as she logged in, her mom said, she lost her opportunity to play ball.

“Ally’s being robbed of the opportunities that other kids have,” said Combs-Creech.

The IHSAA recently expanded their home school rule giving member schools the option to allow non-public school students play for them. But the choice is left to each individual school. Bloomington High School South and Edgewood High School require their student athletes to attend at least half the day at the school.

The IHSAA has tried to help Ally by giving her full eligibility to play at the Indiana School for the Deaf. But Combs-Creech believes her daughter should be allowed to play at a school closer to home.

She contacted the U.S Office of Civil Rights for the Department of Education and this week, the OCR took on Ally’s case.

A spokesman at IHSAA told FOX 59, the department was made aware of the recent development.

“Our office did receive the letter today but cannot offer any further comment at this point,” said spokesman Jason Wille.

The OCR has not made a ruling on the complaint yet.

Combs-Creech said she believes her daughter has the talent to play for a professional team one day and she doesn’t want her to miss out on any opportunities like others may have.

“Most parents give up and they’re like ‘Okay she’s old. She’s not going to play. Why do this fight?’ But I told her I’m not giving up this fight.”

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