Danville loses appeal, must forfeit victories

October 22, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

Danville has to forfeit its football victories over Garrard County and Lincoln County for using an ineligible player.

Danville appealled an earling ruling by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association forcing it to forfeit its first two games, but the appeal was turned down Thursday after a 30-minute hearing.

"It was already decided before we got there," said Sam Harp, Danville's athletics director and football coach. "As of now, we are officially 4-4."

Danville used sophomore Avery Moore, who transferred from Lincoln to Danville in January, for about five plays total in the two wins. However, after the Lincoln game, someone called the KHSAA to report that Danville had not filed transfer papers on Moore.


When Harp found out about the allegation, he learned that Moore had played on Lincoln's football team last year. Once Moore came to Danville, he ran track in the spring and then came out for football. Moore filled out the KHSAA-mandated eligibility form correctly because the form has no place to indicate that a player transferred in the middle of a school year. Because Harp did not know he played at Lincoln, no transfer papers were filed.

"It was a clerical error, not an intentional move to deceive anyone," Harp said. "The young man moved to Danville and did nothing wrong. He filled out the paperwork correctly. But no one at the KHSAA cared about that.

"They can say what they want over there. We acted on the information we had. Whether the information was right or wrong, we went by the information asked for on their form. I know I can lay my head down at night and go to sleep knowing we did nothing wrong. I don't care whether other people believe that or not. They can think what they want. We did nothing wrong."

Danville principal Joseph Payne and superintendent Bob Rowland both spoke at the appeals hearing along with Harp. They were not given a ruling when the hearing ended, but were informed by telephone Thursday afternoon.

Harp tells the team

Harp told his team, which plays at Class A district rival Frankfort tonight, of the KHSAA's decision before Thursday's practice.

"They didn't say anything," Harp said. "I told them we lost our appeal, we were 4-4 and then we went right on with our business. We just have to take care of business now and make sure we win our district."

Harp praised Garrard coach Steve Stonebraker for writing the KHSAA and asking that Danville not have to forfeit its win over his team.

"I told him if he ever needs me to have his back, I'll have it. I appreciate what he did," Harp said.

Harp said he knows of a similar circumstance in which an area school played a player who transferred from another area school about four years ago.

"Transfer papers weren't filled out and he was a starter. He started against his former school and helped beat them," Harp said. "He was eventually suspended (by the KHSAA) for two weeks, but nothing was done to the school. The school didn't forfeit any games he played."

Danville's forfeits officially add a win for both Lincoln and Garrard. The could help put Lincoln into the Class AAA playoffs. If Marion County beats Taylor County next week, that would likely leave Taylor, Marion and Lincoln all with one district win. The tiebreaker would favor Lincoln because of its forfeited win over Danville in a game it lost 48-0 on the scoreboard Aug. 27.

The Admirals defeated Garrard 43-6 six days earlier.

Danville's only remaining option now would be to go to court to have the KHSAA's ruling overturned.

"I don't know what we will do. We have to sit back a few days and then make a conscious decision about if we want to go to court or not," Harp said. "I really don't know why if someone knew what was going on, they didn't let us know. We didn't intentionally do anything wrong. If we had known something was not proper, we would have taken care of it.

"Someone apparently was more interested in hurting young athletes or was just plain jealous of our success. Either way, it's not right to do high school kids that way."

The forfeits won't hinder Danville's chances to win an 11th state title. The Admirals have already clinched a playoff berth and will have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs if they win tonight and next week against Harrodsburg.

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