Posted at: 01/16/2014 5:41 PM
Updated at: 01/16/2014 9:18 PM
By: Dan Levy
NORTHVILLE - School officials in Northville say basketball star Tim Monette can suit up with his teammates. Until Thursday, he wasn't sure he'd be able to play because he says the school principal and his coach told him he was ineligible.
Tim -- a senior -- is fighting cancer. He eats, sleeps, and breathes basketball. So naturally, when his doctor gave him the go-ahead to return to the court after chemotherapy treatments, he was happy as a clam.
"It brings my spirits up and it keeps me fit and active," Tim said. "It keeps my mind off the cancer and all the treatments I'm going through."
On Wednesday night, Tim says he and his mom and dad were called into the principal's office at Northville High School and told that because Tim was doing his school work at home with a tutor and not attending school, he couldn't suit up with his teammates.
"We were upset because through this whole deal that Tim's going through he's been strong the whole way," said Tim Monette Sr. "He hasn't showed any weakness until last night."
Tim's dad says he was devastated because he knew how devastated his son was.
According to the state Education Department, a student does need to attend at least three classes to maintain athletic eligibility, but state law also allows school officials to use discretion on a case-by-case basis.
After news of the disputed decision circulated on social media, Tim's friends and teammates went to school Thursday morning and held a sit-in -- sort of a full court press to force school officials to change their mind.
School Superintendent Debra Lynker issued a statement shortly thereafter saying that the principal "needed to investigate this further and never did she say definitively that he could not play."
The statement went on to say: "The home tutoring Tim is receiving constitutes the requisite attendance and as long as he has a doctor's clearance for each game, he may be eligible to play."
"It is unfortunate that misinformation circulated through social media before it could even be resolved properly," the statement finished.
Northville's next scheduled game is next Tuesday.
Tim is also looking forward to a Florida trip next month where he'll attend the Daytona 500, thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.