DHS will prevent future violations

September 02, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

As Danville awaits word on whether it will have to forfeit two football victories for using an ineligible player, steps have already been taken to make sure the same situation does not occur again.

"We are going to make every athlete in every sport fill out an athletics questionnaire listing sports he or she has played and where they have played," said Sam Harp, Danville's athletics director and head football coach.

Danville reported a violation to the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Wednesday after an anonymous call to the KHSAA Tuesday indicated the Admirals had used an ineligible player, sophomore Avery Moore, in victories over Garrard County and Lincoln County.

"My heart jumped into my throat when I heard we had used an ineligible player," Harp said. "In my 18 years as athletics director here, we've never had a problem. I've filled out dozens of transfer requests. But there were no red flags this time to indicate there were any problems."


KHSAA assistant commissioner Julian Tackett told Harp Wednesday that he was recommending to commissioner Brigid DeVries that Danville forfeit both games for not filing the necessary paperwork to have Moore, who moved to Danville with his mother in January, ruled eligible.

Tackett said it was "premature" for him to offer any comment on a possible violation. He said if Danville did allow an ineligible player to practice and play, it violated two KHSAA bylaws and that the forfeit rule was "crystal clear in those type of cases and unilaterally applied to my knowledge."

Harp said he did not know Moore, who played football at Lincoln last year, when he transferred. Moore joined the track team last spring without being declared eligible, either. Danville will also have to await word on how results from last track season will be impacted by Moore's status.

"I had no knowledge he played football at Lincoln or did anything there," Harp said. "He was not in my class. He didn't play basketball. He didn't approach me about playing football.

"He runs track all spring. Nothing hits me as being wrong. No one says anything about him being a transfer. There were no red flags. No calls from anyone about him.

"There was a bonafide change of address. He lives in our school district. He's been in the same location since January. If the transfer papers had been filled out, there's no doubt he would have been ruled eligible. He didn't do anything wrong. I'm sure he assumed if he moved, he could play."

However, because Harp did not send a form to Lincoln to confirm Moore's playing status and then forward it to the KHSAA after it was filled out at Lincoln, Moore was never declared eligible to participate in any sport at Danville.

Harp did not let him practice Tuesday or Wednesday. Harp sent the transfer request by registered mail to Lincoln Wednesday and will forward it to the KHSAA after he gets it back. He's not sure when DeVries will let him know what she plans to do.

"She could reprimand me, she could fine the school, she could put us on probation or she could make us forfeit both games," Harp said.

Unable to reach DeVries

He tried to talk to DeVries Wednesday about what happened but was unsuccessful in reaching her, and she did not return his phone calls. Danville High School principal Joseph Payne also was unsuccessful in his attempts to reach DeVries.

"We cannot answer anything on this case as we don't have our fact base to make a decision," Tackett said. "If it comes down to just a 'paperwork' mistake, then penalties (adult vs. student) might be different than if the kid wouldn't have been eligible no matter what the paperwork contained."

Harp says he is not sure how the possible forfeits might impact his team when it plays Friday at rival Boyle County. "It doesn't help, that's for sure," Harp said. "But kids sometimes persevere better than adults.

"I know we didn't do anything wrong. If I had any inclination he had played, I would have sent the paperwork. What reason would I have not to? Did we gain any advantage in the six plays we used him? No.

"Regardless of what the KHSAA says, these 50 kids on the team and our staff know we won and that Avery did not do anything to determine the outcome. They can take away the wins on paper, but not on the field. I've also made sure our kids know Avery is not at fault and told them not to blame him because this slipped through the cracks."

Central Kentucky News Articles