October 3, 2011 9:10:00 AM
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -- A north Mississippi couple whose son died during football practice at Mississippi will have their case tried in Oxford, where the university is located, a Hinds County judge has ruled.
Bennie and Erma Abram of Southaven allege the university didn't follow workout guidelines for players with sickle-cell trait. They say 20-year-old Bennie Abram was unaware he had the trait, which can deform red blood cells after strenuous exercise. The NCAA requires Division I schools to test players for it.
Circuit Judge Jeff Weill ruled Thursday that the wrongful death suit should be heard in Lafayette County because that's where Abram died and most of the plaintiffs are located, the Clarion-Ledger reported.
Defendants include the NCAA, the university, coach Houston Nutt, Chancellor Dan Jones, athletic director Pete Boone and Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi.
The suit contends the league failed to properly educate schools or regulate offseason practices.
The plaintiffs deny any wrongdoing.
Abram collapsed Feb. 19, 2010, during the first day of formal offseason workouts, and died at the hospital.
Attorney Chuck Mullins of Jackson has said the case should be heard in Jackson because the state College Board's headquarters are there, and that it could be hard to find a fair jury because so many Lafayette County have connections to the university.
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