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To succeed in an action under 42 U.S.C.S. § 1983, a plaintiff must establish that the defendant acted under color of law to deprive the plaintiff of a right, privilege or immunity secured by the constitution or laws of the United States.
Plaintiff student filed a suit against defendant interscholastic association requesting that defendant be enjoined from disqualifying plaintiff from interscholastic athletic competition and that defendant's actions be declared unconstitutional as a denial of due process. The lower court granted a preliminary injunction and found that defendant acted unreasonably in considering plaintiff's waiver from disqualification and that plaintiff had a sufficient liberty interest in high school athletics so as to have rendered defendant's denial a constitutional violation. Defendant appealed.
The court affirmed the lower court's order in part and reversed in part. The court held that defendant did act arbitrarily in exercising its discretion in denying plaintiff's waiver because although defendant's bylaws allowed for a waiver of disqualification upon the showing of hardship, defendant also had a policy of not making any exceptions to an age eligibility requirement under which plaintiff took exception. However, the court held that friendship, discipline, and regulation involved in playing varsity sports were all insufficient to assert a cognizable interest under 42 U.S.C.S. § 1983 for constitutional protection.