New Town girls must forfeit basketball title

First-year team included 2 ineligible players

High Schools

October 04, 2005|By KATHERINE DUNN | KATHERINE DUNN,SUN REPORTER

New Town's girls basketball team has had to surrender the state Class 1A championship it won last winter because it used two ineligible players.

In March, the Titans became the first basketball team - boys or girls - to win a state championship in its first season as a varsity program. Not long afterward, New Town principal Dr. Margaret Spicer said she discovered "there was a question on the eligibility of some students."

Titans coach Pam Wright said, "The eligibility is that we had two athletes whose home school is Randallstown. One of them was here since ninth grade. They thought they were legally in here."

Ned Sparks, executive director of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association, said the infraction was reported to Baltimore County's office of athletics by the school.

The allegations were investigated by Baltimore County over the summer and forwarded to the MPSSAA.

"I don't think there was too much doubt once they got that information," said Sparks. "[Baltimore County] reported what their recommended penalties are. We accepted them and the school has the opportunity to appeal."

Spicer said she did not plan to appeal.

"When they were found to ineligible, all games and postseason play, including the state championship, must be forfeited. End of discussion," said Spicer.

No staff changes have resulted, and the Titans are not on probation, so they can aim for the title this winter.

Last time, fielding a team of 12 girls with 11 freshmen or sophomores, the Titans beat Southside, 62-53, as Wright won her first state crown after taking Milford Mill to the state tournament six times without a title. The Titans finished the season ranked No. 9 with a 25-2 record.

Wright will continue to coach the team, said Spicer.

Sparks said he was not sure whether the title would simply be vacated or whether Southside would assume the championship.

Though Sparks said this is not the first time a team has had to vacate a state title, he was not sure whether it had ever happened in basketball.

"It's a rarity in any sport," he said.

kathy.dunn@baltsun.com

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