2 Dunbar transfers ruled eligible despite 3 failures

October 11, 1994|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Sun Staff Writer

Two Dunbar football players who transferred from Catholic schools and whose academic eligibility was in question have been declared eligible to play, said city schools assistant superintendent Maurice Howard.

Howard said yesterday that he concluded an investigation last week and notified Ned Sparks, executive secretary of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association.

City schools superintendent Walter G. Amprey signed a letter yesterday explaining the interpretation, Howard said, adding that the letter will be issued to city school principals and athletic directors this week.

"As far as I'm concerned, this is finished," Howard said.

Dunbar, 4-0 and ranked No. 2 in the area, has used the players in every game. If they had been found ineligible, the Poets would have had to forfeit each contest in which they participated, MPSSAA rules say.

The two players, who aren't being identified so that their grades can remain confidential, were transfers from Loyola and Calvert Hall. Howard said their eligibility came under scrutiny when they approached coaches at two other city public schools -- one at City, the other at Patterson -- about playing football.

Patterson coach Roger Wrenn and City coach George Petrides -- who are athletic directors at their schools -- thought that the players were ineligible because they had failed three classes, one more than allowed under city public school rules.

The two players then went to Dunbar, whose principal, Charlotte Brown, reported the situation to Howard. In each case, Howard said, one of the failed classes was a religion or morality course, which he said does not count toward eligibility because it is not offered in the city.

"I think [the athletic directors] made a real mistake by interpreting this rule themselves," said Howard. "They should have referred the transcripts to the guidance counselors or the principal."

"I was told [by Howard] that failed courses at other schools that are not offered in the city do not count toward a transfer," said Sparks. "I didn't pursue it any further because this is not a state association issue, but something that has to be interpreted locally."

Petrides said last night that he never spoke personally to the transfer student, but assumed after seeing his transcripts that he would not have been eligible if he had been accepted to City.

Wrenn, who had filed a written protest with Howard, remains indignant that the players have been deemed eligible.

"[The player] actually enrolled at Patterson, but the rule says if you fail three, you're ineligible," said Wrenn. "Nowhere have I seen that classes, whether religion or anthropology, do not transfer if they're not offered in the city. Someone's changing policy after the fact."

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