Poly is being investigated for ineligible player


November 15, 2001|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Baltimore City schools officials are investigating whether the Poly football team had an ineligible player in Saturday's win against City.

Bob Wade, the coordinator of athletics for Baltimore City, confirmed yesterday that he and the schools' chief executive officer, Carmen V. Russo, are looking into an accusation that the Engineers used a member of the boys soccer team as their kicker in the 20-6 victory over City.

Wade said city rules allow a member of an athletic team to play for another team if that player practiced with the second team for at least 10 days before the player's first appearance in a game.

"There's no dispute that they used him [a soccer player]," said Wade, who declined to elaborate on how his office received the accusation. "It's an allegation, and the allegation is being investigated."

Poly athletic director Mark Schlenoff said the school asked city school officials for permission to add the soccer player to the football roster more than two weeks ago.

Schlenoff also said that the soccer player did attend football practice for the required 10 days before playing in Saturday's game, the 113th meeting between the schools.

"We believe that we are on solid footing on this," said Schlenoff, who noted that Poly principal Ian Cohen submitted the school's position on the matter a few days ago. "My staff and I work very hard to play within the rules. We make that a hallmark of our program."

Wade said if Russo determines that the player in question did not practice with the football team for 10 days before the game against City, she could order Poly to forfeit.

City principal Joseph M. Wilson, in fact, announced over the PA yesterday morning that Poly had forfeited because of a letter he received from Russo to Nancy S. Grasmick, the state superintendent.

Told of Wison's announcement late last night, Wade said: "The only comment I have is there's an on-going investigation."

City, which is seeded fifth in the Class 2A playoffs that begin tomorrow, must travel to Potomac of Prince George's County for a 1 p.m. game Saturday.

Ned Sparks, executive director of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association, said it would be too late to adjust City's record and seeding in the tournament should it have to forfeit.

Sparks said the deadline for such a change passed at 4 p.m. Monday.

City football coach George Petrides declined to comment until the investigation is completed.

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