Glenelg must forfeit football season

Prodded by Sparks, panel reverses its earlier ruling

High Schools

February 18, 2005|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

A Howard County committee, which reconvened at the behest of the state's top high school sports official, has reversed itself and now says that Glenelg High must forfeit last fall's football season for using a player who lived in Baltimore County.

In addition, the student, a sophomore football and track athlete, has been barred from playing for the rest of this year and all of the 2005-06 school year, a county schools spokeswoman said yesterday.

The revised decision, reached during Feb. 10-11 meetings of the county's rules and infractions committee, amended an opinion the same group reached on Feb. 2 that the football team was not to be penalized and the student would have to miss only this spring's athletics.

Glenelg officials said they couldn't tell that the boy lived outside the district because 13 documents had the false address.

Yesterday, the school system said in a news release that "the student's home address came into question as part of a routine residency check ... by the school system's security officer."

The student's family was in the process of building a home in the Glenelg school district but did not move into the home until after the football season.

The committee was asked to review its earlier ruling by Ned Sparks, director of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association, said Patti Caplan, public relations director for Howard County schools.

"When the committee made its first recommendation, it was sent to [Sparks.] Upon receipt of that, he got back in touch with us to let us know that he thought that we should revisit it," Caplan said.

Caplan said Sparks "pointed out to us that there was some misunderstanding on the part of the committee."

Sparks said he found "some inconsistencies with the facts" but gave no specifics, saying only that "the local system determines whether a violation has occurred, but they have to be applied equally across the state."

Neither Glenelg athletic director Mike Williams nor football coach John Davis could be reached yesterday. But Howard County Schools Superintendent Sydney L. Cousin expects the Gladiators to appeal the ruling.

"It is regrettable that the entire team and school are penalized for the actions of one student," Cousin said in a statement. "However, as a school system, we are committed to complying with the MPSSAA's regulations."

Glenelg has 30 days to appeal, and Sparks said, "I'd be disappointed if they didn't."

Wilde Lake's football team forfeited five victories from its 2003 season last February and lost an appeal of the ruling.

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