Ex-Cent Mich player loses appeal over scholarship

March 19, 2013

A former Central Michigan basketball player who claimed she lost her scholarship partly because she's heterosexual has failed to persuade a federal appeals court to revive her lawsuit against the school.

CMU said Brooke Heike's scholarship was revoked by coach Sue Guevara after the 2007-08 season based solely on her attitude and an unwillingness to work hard. She had played her freshman season under a different coach.

A federal judge ruled in favor of the school and dismissed the case in 2010. A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed Monday.

''Any athlete who has been cut from a team can sympathize with Heike. But disappointment and frustration with a coach's conduct do not, without more, entitle a player to legal relief,'' the panel wrote.

A message seeking comment was left Tuesday with Heike's attorney, Cindy Rhodes Victor.

Heike, a prep star at Romeo High School, averaged just five minutes a game in 11 games as a freshman. She appeared in only six games as a sophomore under Guevara.

In a 2009 lawsuit, Heike, among other allegations, said Guevara told her she wore too much makeup and was not the coach's ''type.'' Heike interpreted that to mean she wasn't a lesbian. She said Guevara also preferred to have tough black players. She's white. CMU denied any discrimination.

Heike has ''made numerous unfounded and salacious allegations'' to divert attention from ''rather mundane facts,'' CMU's lawyers said in a court filing in 2009.

Heike also challenged the campus appeals process that occurred after she lost her scholarship, but the appeals court found no fault there.

''Heike argued her case to the three-person panel, presented testimony from trainers she had worked with and a fellow basketball-team member whose scholarship had not been renewed, cross-examined other witnesses, and made a closing statement,'' the court said.