Youth football group is denied reinstatement

Appeals board dismisses Laurel association's case

Banned from league for cheating

County said teams falsified documents over 2 seasons

April 25, 2003|By Ryan Davis | Ryan Davis,SUN STAFF

The Laurel Football Association failed to win reinstatement into Anne Arundel County's youth football league last night, months after being banned for allegedly falsifying documents so that ineligible children could play.

The county's Department of Recreation and Parks threw the association out of its league in January, saying that association board members, coaches, parents and players had repeatedly falsified documents over the past two seasons.

Last night, the five-member county Board of Appeals issued the equivalent of a rainout - if there were such a thing in football. The board - which typically addresses planning and zoning decisions - dismissed the association's appeal of the ban, ruling that the association should have first requested a review by the recreation department appeals board.

Laurel Football Association's lawyer and president said last night that the group still has to decide whether to file such an appeal.

Neither side disputes that Laurel adults ignored league rules regarding residency requirements and age restrictions for players. But association President Winston Lowe and attorney Raymond P. Kempisty had planned to argue that parents falsified documents without the association's knowledge.

County officials have said that association leaders and coaches helped cheat.

The 120-child association was formed by a group of Laurel-area parents before the county's fall 2001 season. They enrolled several teams in the county's football league for 6- to 15-year-olds. The league is divided into eight age/weight divisions, and about 170 teams participate from associations across the county.

During Laurel's two seasons in the league, county officials said, they discovered two forged birth certificates for Laurel players. One player was too old for the league. The other was attempting to play in a lower age/weight class, county officials have said.

Several Laurel teams failed to meet the requirement that half of their players live in Anne Arundel, county officials have said. The county checks residency by ZIP code.

In an attempt by the association to meet residency requirements, county officials said they received documents for at least eight Laurel players who had Anne Arundel ZIP codes attached to out-of-county addresses.

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