The Indiana High School Athletic Association, the governing body of high school sports, is appealing a Lake County court decision that lifted suspensions of the Hammond and Griffith basketball teams after a brawl last February.
The bench-clearing fight started after a Hammond player fouled a Griffith player. The game was ended and the schools suspended the students involved. The IHSAA canceled each school's remaining regular season games including post season, and placed them on probation.
The schools argue that the suspensions were excessive and successfully sued to stop the IHSAA from enforcing those suspensions.
An appeals court heard arguments Tuesday in a rare open forum on the Ivy Tech campus in Lafayette.
Attorneys representing a former Hammond basketball player argue that the IHSAA does not enforce its rules consistently.
"The IHSAA is required to make sure that its rulings are consistent and if you're not going to be consistent, they've got to put schools and students on notice why they aren't going to be consistent," Michael Jasaitis said.
"I don't agree with the notion that the punishments are inconsistent. You take every situation at its face value and merit and make an informed decision based on the evidence presented to you," IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox said.
The ruling could have implications on other recent punishments handed down by the IHSAA, including last month's season-ending suspensions of the Ben Davis and Pike girls' basketball teams involved in an on-court fight in January.