Dandridge, Jefferson County (AP) -- A Federal Appeals Court has agreed to rush a hearing on the case of four Jefferson County football players who claim their Constitutional rights were violated when they were cut from the team for circulating a petition against the head coach.
The plaintiffs had filed a motion to expedite an appeal with the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, which granted the request after the players' motion argued that the clock is ticking on their high school football careers. The case has been lingering for a year.
The defendants in the lawsuit are Jefferson County High School Football Coach Marty Euverard and school officials.
The case was set for a trial last month, but US District Court Judge Thomas Phillips issued a stay to allow the officials to appeal his rulings.
Phillips has previously ruled that the players were exercising their rights to free speech when they circulated the petition. He also refused to dismiss the suit on the basis that the officials were immune from being sued.
Two of the four transferred to other schools and continued playing, but the other two will be seniors next year at Jefferson and their requests to return to the team have been denied.
Copyright 2006 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.