CNJ file photo Clovis High School boy’s basketball coach J.D. Isler has filed a petition in district court asking for an injunction to stop his suspension.
By Sharna Johnson
A meeting with an incoming varsity basketball player was not improper and Clovis High School’s head-coach is asking for court intervention in his suspension, according to court documents filed Friday morning by Clovis High School boys basketball coach J.D. Isler.
Isler filed a petition for injunctive relief in the 9th Judicial District Court, asking the court to halt his suspension by Clovis Municipal Schools and the New Mexico Activities Association.
A hearing is set for 1:30 p.m. Friday before Judge Teddy Hartley.
Isler was suspended from all coaching duties Wednesday and notified he would be terminated as a coach effective Jan. 13, according to a letter from Clovis School Superintendent Rhonda Seidenwurm.
Isler’s position as a teacher is not affected, Seidenwurm said.
CMS and NMAA are co-named as defendants in the petition.
“As a result of the conduct of the NMAA, Isler is suffering and will continue to suffer immediate and irreparable harm and injury, both financially and to his reputation,” the petition states.
According to the petition, a complaint was made to the NMAA and an investigation was launched into Isler’s conduct after junior Lathan Lieb transferred from Dora this year.
The NMAA has not said Lieb’s case is the cause of the investigation.
Isler said in the petition he met with Lieb and his father, Todd Lieb, in July to discuss the family’s pending move and the basketball program at Clovis High School. Isler said he asked CHS Athletic Director Brian Stacy to attend the meeting.
The meeting centered around NMAA eligibility rules, CHS and the CHS basketball program.
However, Isler said in the petition he made no promises or guarantees Lieb would have a position on the team, nor did he make any promises of placement on the team or the extent to which might be played.
Following the meeting, Isler stated Lieb’s father called and said his son had decided to stay in Dora.
However in late August, Todd Lieb called Isler asking if he and his son could stop by his home for a second meeting, records show.
Isler stated Stacy could not make the meeting so he met with the Liebs, having a similar discussion about CHS and its basketball program, again making no promises to Lieb, the petition states.
The NMAA suspended Isler, citing a violation of rules governing undue influence that prohibit, “communication with student/parents by school personnel that might be construed as inducement for them to attend a particular school.”
Lieb enrolled at CHS in early September.
He has not played a game yet while Clovis was waiting on a NMAA ruling regarding his eligibility.
Lieb said Thursday Isler in no way recruited him and he provided evidence to the NMAA.
Isler is arguing the rule violates due process and is, “so vague that people of common intelligence must guess at its meaning and differ as to its application,” the petition states.
Clovis is 3-2 this season, with one loss by forfeit.
The Wildcats forfeited a 72-28 season-opening win over Portales because Deven Crockett, who had six points and three rebounds, was later ruled ineligible for not meeting transfer requirements.
Isler is in his ninth season and is 169-59 at Clovis.