The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association is facing a lawsuit alleging that it unfairly keeps some students from participating in interscholastic sports.

According to the suit, which was filed Wednesday, this summer the MIAA implemented a policy that prevents students at statewide virtual public schools from playing sports through a local school. The plaintiff's attorney said the policy will affect students at two statewide virtual public schools, and that it has already prevented a 17-year-old from being on a public high school's team that he previously played with. The MIAA said the policy is not a change in rules, but a "clarification" of the rules that already existed.

Bob Baldwin, executive director of the MIAA, pointed to two main reasons for the policy: a lack of academic supervision from local school districts over students who attend statewide virtual schools, and the loss of funding that occurs when students choose to leave a district.

"So, simply put, a lot of superintendents across the commonwealth said that we're being put in an unfair situation in which we have to sign off to allow somebody to play who lives in my community, but has literally left my school," he said. "And the final piece to that is what if I allow somebody to do this and they come back and displace the third baseman or the midfielder on a lacrosse team, what if they come back and displace the person who rightfully is still enrolled in my district or school?"

Baldwin said that students in district-run virtual schools and home-schooled students are eligible to compete for schools in local districts because the districts have oversight of them.

Attorney Nicholas O'Donnell, who is representing the mother of the 17-year-old student who filed the lawsuit, said he just wants to play.

"It's a community-connected activity that's healthy and all positive, and he wants to be a part of it," O'Donnell said.

The identies of both the mother and son, who live in Duxbury, have been concealed. They are identified by the pseudonyms of "Sarah Jones" and "Jimmy" in court documents.

According to those documents, Jimmy attended Duxbury Public Schools through ninth grade. He enrolled at The Education Cooperative Connections Academy, a statewide online public school, in fall 2021 to help accomodate his busy club hockey schedule.

This past spring, according to the suit, Jimmy played junior varsity lacrosse with Duxbury High after obtaining a waiver from the MIAA.

"He's been playing hockey competetively for a long time, he tried lacrosse for the first time a couple of years ago and he really likes doing it," O'Donnell said.

But with what the lawsuit describes as a "rule change," Jimmy and other students at statewide virtual schools won't be able to compete going forward.

"So it puts them in a box not even able to explain what is is that they want to do or whether they want to play. They're simply out of the game, no pun intended," O'Donnell said.

Baldwin said the MIAA announed the policy in May to give people enough time to make decisions about enrollment going forward.

A hearing has been scheduled for Sept. 7.