Danville forfeits to be appealed

September 08, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

While acknowledging there was no attempt to deceive or gain an advantage on Danville's part, Kentucky High School Athletic Association Commissioner Brigid DeVries has ruled that using an ineligible player should result in Danville forfeiting football wins over Garrard County and Lincoln County this season.

Sophomore Avery Moore played one play in a 43-6 win over Garrard County and five plays in a 48-0 victory over Garrard County. However, because proper paperwork had never been filed after his transfer from Lincoln in January, he was not eligible to play in either game.

"Unfortunately, allowing ineligible students to participate in high school athletics is a serious KHSAA violation," DeVries said in her ruling released by Danville High School Principal Joseph Payne Tuesday afternoon. "Because this student participated illegally in track in the spring of 2004 and in two football games during the fall of 2004, it is necessary that all 2004 track meets and 2004 football games in which he participated be forfeited."


Danville plans to appeal the ruling because it was a clerical error that led to his ineligibility and also because of questions about the form Moore filled out when he moved to Danville. Payne said both he and Superintendent Bob Rowland support the appeal.

"He did not fill the form out wrong. He answered exactly what the form asked, and there were no red flags to indicate to us that he ever played football, or any sport, anywhere," Danville football coach and athletics director Sam Harp said.

Payne noted in his response to the KHSAA that assistant commissioner Julian Tackett "mentioned that several coaches have requested that there be an enrollment history listed (on the participation form) so there can be no margin for error." He also said he felt the "form was the culprit, not the school."

Moore ran track for Danville. Harp said Danville's only mistake was allowing him to participate without a physical exam until late in the season. Moore should not have been able to even practice without a physical because of insurance concerns.

"Our track coach should never have let that happen," Harp said. "We were wrong and made a mistake in not having the physical."

No knowledge that he played at Lincoln

When Moore joined the football team, Harp and his staff did not know he played at Lincoln last year before transferring to Danville. Harp did not know he needed to file transfer papers with Lincoln and the KHSAA because of the way the KHSAA form read. Moore noted in May that this was his first year at Danville and his first year since entering ninth grade. He said the school he attended last year (2003-2004 school year) was Lincoln County Middle School.

"He filled it out exactly the same way anyone would," Harp said. "That's why we are going to appeal. At this juncture, I really don't want to say anything else until the appeal runs it course."

DeVries noted Danville could have been fined $1,000 for using an ineligible player.

"Danville High School has had an excellent record with the KHSAA, and athletic director Sam Harp is to be commended for his honesty and forthrighteousness in handling this difficult situation and self-reporting this violation," DeVries said. "Due to the diligence of the administration in immediately addressing the situation with track coaches and other coaching staff, there will be no further penalty in this case."

She also ruled that practices Moore had already been through could count toward the 10 needed to play in a game as soon as he's ruled eligible by the KHSAA.

If the appeal fails and the forfeits are upheld, it would drop Danville's record to 0-3. However, since none of the losses came in district play, the forfeits probably would not have a significant impact on the Admirals' chances for winning an 11th state title.

"Our kids really didn't say anything today when I told them because I didn't give them a chance," Harp said. "We will play the cards we are dealt. We will appeal the ruling and then go from there."

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