Belt Loops: Former Western Michigan Football Player Files Discrimination Lawsuit

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Brook Higgins says he was set up to fail once P.J. Fleck took over the Western Michigan football program.

Know Your Rights

A former member of the Western Michigan football team has filed a discrimination lawsuit with the U.S. District Court against the university after his dismal from the Broncos last year.

Brook Higgins, a Bronco in 2012, wants $75,000 after claiming WMU violated Tittle II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act by dismissing him from the team. A lawsuit, filed Jan. 13, said Higgins was diagnosed with a learning disability in third grade and later central auditory processing disorder and anxiety disorder.

Higgins was a preferred walk-on with the Broncos, but when a knee injury cut his season short, he was asked to take a medical leave and improve his grades by former coach Bill Cubit. After his staff was fired, Higgins met with the new coaches and got info, which Higgins claimed was incorrect and helped lead to him no longer being a member of the team.

In the lawsuit, it states Higgins was given the wrong number of people he was supposed to notify about the team's first meeting and he was ruled as missing from the workout players were required to attend. That day, linebackers coach Tim McGarigle told Higgins he was off the team. When Higgins pleaded his case, the coach responded by saying, "You are lying."

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act says qualified individuals can't be discriminated based on a disability. Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act protects from discrimination due to disability in programs funded by government. Higgins wants $75,000 in relief and wants Western Michigan to be permitted from any future acts of discrimination.

Tough Luck

When there's the Olympics, there's controversy.

Katie Eberling, a former volleyball star at Western Michigan, was named an alternate for the Olympic Bobsled Team for the upcoming games in Sochi. The U.S. Bobsled & Skeleton Federation denied Eberling for track and field star and household name, Lolo Jones.

The problem: there was no explanation.

Eberling's father, Hal, told the Chicago Tribune he crunched the numbers but couldn't find a legitimate reason why his daughter was duped.

"I just don't understand, with her numbers and achievements, how could she be left off the team," Hal Eberling said to the Tribune.

Now surfacing are beliefs that NBC, the television station that broadcasts the games, made the decision to put Jones on the team. Selena Roberts said in her column for SportsOnEarth.com that, "NBC has a teen crush on Lolo Jones, If it could, the network would tattoo her name on the skin of its lens."

The column goes on to say that Jones was the sex appeal replacement to the Olympics after Lindsey Vonn was named out of the games with an injury. Despite being the last person to make the team, Jones' name is the first to slide off of the tongue of broadcasters.

Eberling can still train and practice, but she can only compete if someone gets hurt or is too sick to compete in competition.

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