St. Charles hit with forfeit
Football team found in violation of an ineligible player
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.