St. Charles hit with for­feit

Foot­ball team found in vi­o­la­tion of an in­el­i­gi­ble player

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­

One week af­ter the North­ern High School foot­ball team was stripped of all four of its wins for us­ing in­el­i­gi­ble play­ers, the St. Charles High School foot­ball team was forced to for­feit its 14-0 vic­tory over McDonough on Sept. 9 for hav­ing an in­el­i­gi­ble player.

St. Charles ath­letic di­rec­tor Jen Smith said in an email with South­ern Mary­land News­pa­pers Wed­nes­day evening that the school self-re­ported the in­eligi- ble player to Charles County in early Oc­to­ber. That player did not play in the Spar­tans’ next three games and Smith deemed the mat­ter closed, only to find out that the Mary­land Pub­lic Sec­ondary Schools Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion, MPSSAA, forced St. Charles to for­feit that win to McDonough.

Smith and Charles County co­or­di­na­tor of stu­dent ac­tiv­i­ties Steven D. Lee at­tended an ap­peals hear­ing at the MPSSAA of­fice in Bal­ti­more Tues­day af­ter­noon. But af­ter hear­ing the ap­peal, the com­mit­tee ren­dered its ver­dict on Wed­nes­day and up­held the for­feit.

St. Charles, which was not in

play­off con­tention in the Class 3A South Re­gion, slips to 2-6 over­all, while McDonough im­proves to 2-6 and the up­held for­feit means the Rams could reach the post­sea­son in

the 1A North Re­gion. McDonough is tied for fourth in the 1A North with Fair­mont Heights of Prince Ge­orge’s County with 19 points each, but the Rams are tech­ni­cally fifth be­cause they have one fewer bonus point than the Hor­nets.

“When we found out that the stu­dent was in­el­i­gi­ble, we self-re­ported it to the school sys­tem,” Smith re­called in her email with South­ern Mary­land News­pa­pers Wed­nes­day evening. “We thought we had ev­ery­thing clar­i­fied by the MPSSAA re­gard­ing his el­i­gi­bil­ity, but Tues­day af­ter­noon we had to formally ap­peal the for­feit. On Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon, the MPSSAA up­held the for­feit. I am not sure at this time if St. Charles will ap­peal the for­feit to the next level.”

McDonough ath­letic di­rec­tor Pam Van Bellen and Rams first-year head coach Jonathan Briscoe were un­aware of any pend­ing for­feit be­ing awarded to their team when reached by phone Mon­day.

McDonough is at North­ern (0-8) at 7 p.m. Fri­day and is sched­uled to close out the reg­u­lar sea­son ver­sus La Plata (2-6) at 7 p.m. next Fri­day. Sur­rattsville of Prince Ge­orge’s (4-4) is cur­rently sit­ting in sec­ond in the 1A North stand­ings, one spot be­low Havre De Grace of Har­ford County (6-1) and one place ahead of Jop­pa­towne of Har­ford County (3-5).

When North­ern had to for­feit its four wins, the Pa­tri­ots were elim­i­nated from play­off con­tention and they promptly vaulted Great Mills into the play­off pic­ture while not se­ri­ously af­fect­ing the post­sea­son chances for Hunt­ing­town, Leonard­town or La Plata who also re­ceived a vic­tory from North­ern via for­feit.

While St. Charles was not in con­tention for a play­off berth and the Spar­tans only parted with one of their three wins via for­feit on Wed­nes­day, that rev­er­sal cat­a­pulted McDonough into the play­off pic­ture. Coin­ci­den­tally, two games tonight will pit the four teams most di­rectly im­pacted by the for­feits against one an­other as St. Charles trav­els to Great Mills, a 6 p.m. kick­off, and North­ern hosts McDonough.

Lee, who could not be reached for fur­ther com­ment on Wed­nes­day or Thurs­day, con­firmed on Tues­day that St. Charles had ap­pealed the for­feit to McDonough and ex­pected a de­ci­sion would be made by the MPSSAA within 48 hours, which it was. Lee also con­firmed that the Spar­tans’ sub­se­quent two vic­to­ries would not be af­fected by the in­el­i­gi­bil­ity vi­o­la­tion the school had self-re­ported and that only one St. Charles player was deemed in­el­i­gi­ble.

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