Strickland's appeal is denied

Superintendent agrees eligibility has expired

High Schools

January 04, 2002|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Marshall Strickland III's appeal to the state superintendent of schools to play high school basketball this season for South Carroll has been denied.

Nancy S. Grasmick, in issuing her opinion last week, upheld a previous ruling by Edward F. Sparks, executive director of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association, that Strickland has used up his four years of athletic eligibility.

Strickland, 18, who has signed a letter of intent with Indiana University, played two games for South Carroll this season, scoring 33 and 35 points in two Cavaliers victories, after Carroll County Circuit Court Judge Michael M. Galloway issued a temporary restraining order Dec. 5 and later extended that order through Dec. 12.

Galloway lifted that order Dec. 13, and Strickland has not played since then, although he has continued to practice with the team and attend games.

Strickland's counsel, MacKenzie A. Kantruss, argued in circuit court that the six games Strickland played in the fall of 1997 at a Boston-area private school should not count as a season.

But Grasmick stated in her opinion: "Moreover, whether a student participates in only one game during the season or in all games during the season, the student has played a season."

Strickland played six games of varsity basketball as a ninth-grader at Thayer Academy in Massachusetts during the 1997-98 school year.

For the 1998-99 school year, Strickland, who has a 3.8 grade point average, repeated ninth grade at Winchendon Academy in Massachusetts and participated in a full season of varsity basketball.

For the 1999-00 school year as a 10th-grader at Winchendon Academy, he again participated in a full season of varsity basketball.

And for the 2000-01 school year, as an 11th-grader at DeMatha and at South Carroll, he participated in a full season of varsity basketball.

Grasmick's opinion said: "The testimony of his grade levels and basketball participation is not disputed."

Kantruss cited in court two cases in which he thought the four-year eligibility ruling had not been applied consistently, but Grasmick in her opinion said that both cases differed materially from Strickland's.

Neither Strickland nor Kantruss could be reached for comment yesterday.

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