Poly forced to forfeit big victory over City

Violation involves kicker

no change in Knights' seeding

November 16, 2001|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Baltimore City school officials yesterday ordered the Poly football team to forfeit its victory over City College on Saturday for using an ineligible player.

Bob Wade, the coordinator of athletics for Baltimore City, confirmed that the Engineers have been told to forfeit their 20-6 win over the Knights for what he would characterize only as "a violation of the rules."

Wade would not elaborate.

City (10-0) will play at Potomac of Prince George's County tomorrow in a state quarterfinal game. Poly (6-4) is not in the playoffs.

At issue is whether a member of the Poly boys soccer team practiced with the football team for the necessary 10 full practices as required by city policy and whether the player participated in soccer and football practices at the same time, which is against the rules.

In a two-page letter faxed yesterday to The Sun, Robert G. Wood, the boys soccer coach for the Engineers, wrote that, on Oct. 22, football coach John Hammond "inquired if the player might be able to help the football team."

Wood wrote that the athlete began practicing with the football team that afternoon. The player would finish soccer practice and move to the football field to practice extra-point and field-goal attempts.

Poly's soccer team ended its season Oct. 31 with a loss to Eastern Tech. According to Wood, the player reported to the football field after the soccer game and "kicked footballs."

The player practiced with the football team up until Saturday, the day of the 113th meeting between the teams. In fact, Wood stated "the young man reported to Poly [8:30 a.m.] and practiced for one hour prior to the [City-Poly] game."

Still, the player apparently did not get in 10 full practice days after the soccer season ended because Poly played Southern on Nov. 2. According to city officials, a game day cannot be counted as a practice day. Also, public schools cannot practice on Sunday.

Poly athletic director Mark Schlenoff said the school would accept the ruling.

"It was an administrative decision," said Schlenoff. "I've been a good trooper for 27 years. I will fall in line again."

Hammond did not return repeated calls.

Wood said in a telephone interview: "There is a happy side to this. Under all the stress and duress, the football team and the student body in general at Poly have conducted themselves admirably as one unit.

"Nobody has blamed anybody, and they have shown a tremendous amount of character. And they will move forward and be successful."

Because of Saturday's loss, City was seeded fifth in the eight-team, Class 2A playoffs and forced to play on the road. Had the Knights won on the field or if the infraction had been ruled earlier, they would have had a higher seed and a first-round game at home.

City football coach George Petrides, who also serves as the school's athletic director, said: "I'd much rather be playing at home and maintaining a home-field advantage. But we could have taken care of that ourselves Saturday."

Wade said he was informed about the possible rules violation on Monday.

"The alleged allegation was brought to my attention about 12:20 on Monday," Wade said. "The MPSSAA [Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association] office was notified of the alleged allegation at that time, and I told them I would begin my investigation immediately."

But for City to have benefited in the state seedings, a decision had to be made before noon Sunday. (The deadline was not 4 p.m. Monday, as reported in yesterday's editions.)

The investigation continued, and apparently a decision was reached either Tuesday or early Wednesday. On Wednesday morning, City principal Joseph M. Wilson made the announcement on the school's public-address system that Poly had forfeited the game.

During the day Wednesday, Poly principal Ira Cohen faxed a statement detailing the school's position. As of late Wedneday night, Wade told The Sun that the investigation was "ongoing."

City school officials met yesterday, and Wade made the announcement late in the afternoon.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.