Rochard McAfee, a 6-foot senior swingman who was averaging 14.9 points a game for the Meade boys basketball team, has been declared ineligible for the rest of the season, and the team has forfeited two wins.
The school dealt McAfee the penalty, over and above Anne Arundel County rules, for at least eight unexcused absences from his sixth and final class of the day.
County attendance rules in the athletic handbook state that an athlete cutting class or guilty of truancy "shall be ruled ineligible at least for the contest immediately following the verification of the truancy."
Meade coach Butch Young said the school went beyond normal penalties because "the administration says there have been other similar cases in the past with such a penalty [invoked]," and they followed precedence in McAfee's case.
"It's a shame it has to be that harsh, because he was getting some looks [from colleges] and is a good kid," Young said.
"He could transfer and would be allowed to play at another county school because he's academically eligible. His GPA is about a 2.8 with five classes, plus he's doing well in a night class he takes on Mondays and Wednesdays."
McAfee missed some school last spring because of an auto accident and is making up work to graduate on time.
Nathan McAfee, Rochard's father, said yesterday the family will appeal what he says is "an unfair penalty."
"We expected Rochard would get detention or something, not be done for the rest of the year," he said.
Meade principal Joan Valentine is on a leave of absence and could not be reached. Administrator Jeffrey Hopkins, who handled the case, did not return phone calls yesterday.
McAfee did not attend his Algebra II class, which he had been taking since school started, eight times between Dec. 19 and Jan. 14.
Wins over North County and Chesapeake on Jan. 7 and 10 have been forfeited by Meade because McAfee played in those games after not attending an entire day of classes on those dates.
A former Top 20 team, Meade has now lost four in a row - all in McAfee's absence - including last night's 73-64 defeat at Old Mill. With the latest loss and the forfeits, the Mustangs' record fell to 5-9, 1-8.