Guthrie To Forfeit Eight Games After OSSAA Rules Player Ineligible

Friday, November 4th 2011, 11:43 am
By: News 9

Layna Dewell,

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Guthrie Bluejays undefeated football season could all be washed away as the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association has ruled a current player ineligible due to violations of the dual residence rule.

"We were notified that there could be a student athlete from Guthrie who was not eligible. We did an investigation into it and at the conclusion of that investigation we have determined that the student was not in compliance with our residence rule," said OSSAA Executive Secretary Ed Sheakley.

Sheakley said the OSSAA was informed by an anonymous letter about the rules violation and launched an investigation into the allegations that took less than a week.

Guthrie was informed of the student-athletes ineligibility Thursday.

"The penalty for illegal participation is two penalties: one is a forfeiture of contests for the school and as far as the individual he has to sit out the same number of contests that he participated in once he becomes eligible," said Sheakley.

As it stands now, Guthrie—the No. 1 team in 5A-- will have to forfeit eight of its nine games so far this season taking their undefeated 9-0 record to a 1-8 record thus making them ineligible for the playoffs. Guthrie does not have to forfeit the game against Western Heights because the ineligible player did not participate in that game.

Sheakley was unable to comment about who specific student athlete is, what grade he is in or what school he moved from because both the parents and Guthrie High School have both asked for an appeal.

"The OSSAA has made a decision that we disagree with, and we plan to appeal their decision on the forfeit of the games," said Guthrie Superintendent Terry Simpson to the Guthrie Sports Page on Thursday.

According to the website the anonymous letter sent to the OSSAA speculated that a member of the player family is still living in the previous home in another town in Oklahoma. It also states that residence has been for sale for several months.

The appeal will be heard by the OSSAA board of directors Wednesday morning at 9 a.m.

According to Sheakley the affirmation form between the OSSAA and the student-athletes family was signed and approved at the time making it legal for the student to transfer school districts.

The violation comes from the OSSAA Rule 8-2b(5), which deals with dual residency.

"For the purposes of this Rule, a bona fide move and change of residence shall mean that the student's parents (or custodial parent or court appointed guardian with legal custody of the student) have moved out of their prior residence and have established a new, full-time residence outside the public school district or other geographic area in which they previously were residing. If the student's parents (or custodial parent or court appointed guardian) move to a new residence but do not intend to make it their permanent home, the student will not be eligible at any new school unless complete information is presented at a hearing before the Board of Directors and a ruling has been given that a bona fide change of residence has been made. Factors that may be considered include, but are not limited to, whether the original residence has been closed, disposed of, rented or leased on a long-term agreement, whether the family's personal property has been sold or moved to the new residence, and whether another family member has been allowed to use the original residence. A student whose family maintains multiple residences in circumvention of the requirements of this Rule shall not be eligible at any new school."

Sheakley said that a decision will be made at the board meeting Wednesday. Guthrie would need to receive seven votes to overturn the decision. If a tie were to occur in the voting it would result in a status quo and the penalties would remain in place.