Lowe Stadium at Glendale High School in Springfield prior to the start of a 2017 playoff game between Glendale and Ozark's varsity football teams (Photo by Rance Burger)

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Note: This story has been updated to reflect a judge’s decision handed down Aug. 31.

The box score shows the Glendale Falcons used two quarterbacks to rack up 488 yards passing in a 46-30 season-opening victory over Waynesville. Kylan Mabins was not one of them.

Mabins is sitting out after the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) denied his eligibility to play football upon him transferring to Glendale from crosstown rival Kickapoo. According to the petition Mabins and his attorneys filed in a lawsuit against MSHSAA, a MSHSAA investigations committee determined Mabins transferred from Kickapoo to Glendale due to “undue influence,” and is not eligible to take part in high school sports for the rest of his career.

“If you transfer schools, you will be ineligible for 365 days, unless your circumstances meet one of the exceptions listed in the MSHSAA Residence and Transfer Rules,” the MSHSAA eligibility standards read. “You shall become ineligible for 365 days if you transfer to another school for athletic reasons.”

In an injunctive petition filed this week in Greene County circuit court, Mabins’ attorneys argue the transfer in the spring of 2023 was not for athletic reasons or by influence of any coaches at Glendale, but because Mabins suffered hardships at Kickapoo and needed to go to another school.

Judge Dan Wichmer denied a temporary restraining order that would have allowed Mabins to play for Glendale. The quarterback will remain ineligible to suit up for the Falcons until at least Sept. 18.

The lawsuit explains a discrimination report Mabins and his family filed against staff members at Kickapoo, and accuses Kickapoo staff members of acting to “trigger an automatic ineligibility ruling for him,” by claiming the transfer was due to undue influence and for sports reasons.

“Mabins has and will suffer irreparable harm as to the decision of his eligibility in that he has and will miss games, practices, experiences, growth and the benefits of being a part of football as an interscholastic activity his senior year,” attorneys Jay Kirksey and Brad Tuck write in Mabins’ legal petition. “He will suffer the loss of opportunities for education advancement by the attaining of college scholarships, which based on his performances and history, are likely if he plays football his senior year.”

Mabin’s next court hearing is scheduled for Sept. 18. By then, the Missouri High School season will have concluded the fourth week of its 10-week regular season.

Mabins’ name is still listed on the Glendale football roster on MaxPreps.com, an online platform the Falcons staff has historically used to track games and statistics.

Family alleges racial discrimination by Kickapoo coaches

According to court documents, Mabins and his parents made a report to Springfield Public Schools alleging “racial discrimination, the hostile environment to African American students, the homophobic comments and other misconduct of the athletic staff at Kickapoo High School toward Mabins,” and other athletes at Kickapoo.

The report was made on April 14, 2023.

“We outlined the conduct of racial discrimination that our son had endured, which had brought him to the point of closing in on himself and withdrawing from his family and friends,” Kylan Mabins’ mother, Darline Mabins, wrote in a letter to Springfield Public Schools that has been obtained by the Springfield Daily Citizen. “As parents, we were worried that he could be in the early stages of depression.”

The complaint alleges Springfield Public Schools did not take action to investigate any claims of racial discrimination or other hostile treatment of the quarterback. The Mabins family allege none of its members were ever contacted regarding the complaint.

Kylan Mabins filed the court complaint against the Missouri State High School Activities Association and its 10-member board of directors. Springfield Public Schools district athletic director Josh Scott is one of those directors. 

In the complaint to Springfield Public Schools, Darline Mabins explains she and Kylan Mabins met with a MSHSAA investigative committee via the online platform Zoom on May 11, 2023, more than two months before Kylan Mabins learned he was not eligible to play football.

“I had no faith in the legitimacy of this process as Mr. Josh Scott is not an impartial party in the review of my son’s eligibility,” Darline Mabins wrote in her complaint. “Mr. Scott has also kept the final findings from us. He has had this information since July 19.”

Darline Mabins also claims Kickapoo staff members retaliated against her son’s discrimination complaints by claiming his transfer was due to undue influence by Glendale’s football coaching staff.

Coach Mike Mauk’s case continues

On Aug. 14, Springfield Public Schools announced it replaced Glendale High School football coach Mike Mauk just before the start of the Falcons’ 2023 season.

It is not clear whether Mauk’s removal from the head coaching job was by way of a termination, resignation or some other method. Joel Heman replaced Mauk as the interim football coach at Glendale while the school district conducts a search for a permanent replacement.

Mauk and one of his sons, former Glendale offensive coordinator Ben Mauk, were relieved of their coaching duties but remain on the teaching roster at Glendale. Separate from the Mabins case, Mike Mauk has an active lawsuit against Springfield Public Schools.

Springfield Public Schools officials reportedly disciplined Mauk by placing him on an employee action plan in 2019, and asked him to sign an agreement that further disciplinary action could result in his firing. Mauk’s lawsuit claims he was discriminated against based on his age, 62 at the time, and that he suffered undue stress and anguish as the result of the threat of termination.

“Both individuals remain employed by Springfield Public Schools as teachers at Glendale High School,” Springfield Public Schools spokesperson Stephen Hall told the Springfield Daily Citizen on Aug. 15.

What MSHSAA’s eligibility standards say

“You will be ineligible for your career at a school if you are influenced by a person to attend that school for athletic or activities purposes,” MSHSAA states in its eligibility standards. “You may, however, return to your original school and be ineligible for no more than 365 days.”

Kickapoo coaches allegedly claimed Mabins transferred to Glendale, at least in part, due to influence of Glendale football coaches, including members of the Mauk family. Mabins’ attorneys allege Kickapoo provided false information to the MSHSAA investigative committee, including a video allegedly showing Mabins working out on the football field at Glendale in May 2021.

The Mabins’ case will likely hinge on his attorneys’ ability to convey hardship, which is an acceptable reason for a high school athlete to change schools and be granted eligibility to play sports immediately for the new school.

“The Board of Directors is authorized to grant eligibility to a student in a case that is beyond the control of a student or his (her) parents, which in the opinion of the Board involves undue hardship or an emergency and does not violate the intent of any standards of eligibility,” part of the handbook’s section on student-athlete eligibility reads. “Cases involving any choice on the part of the student or parents shall not be heard under this section.”

MSHSAA Communications Director Jason West explained in an email that Mabins may also appeal his case with MSHSAA. Glendale staff members would need to initiate that appeal.

“The receiving school may appeal this decision on behalf of the student. There are two levels in the appeals process,” West wrote, “the Appeals Committee and the Board of Directors. The Appeals Committee is the first level, the school may appeal the committee’s decision to the Board of Directors who will have the final say in the matter.”

Rance Burger

Rance Burger is the managing editor for the Daily Citizen. He previously covered local governments from February 2022 to April 2023. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia with 15 years experience in journalism. Reach him at rburger@sgfcitizen.org or by calling 417-837-3669. Twitter: @RanceBurger More by Rance Burger