Saturday, November 18, 2006

Ballou's football controversy

Were to of Ballou's football squad ineligible to play this year? That's what members of DCPS's division of school security have been investigating for the last month.
The confusion stems from a month-long investigation conducted by the D.C. public schools division of school security into the academic eligibility of two Ballou players, both of whom transferred to the Southeast school from Coolidge over the summer. They helped Ballou sweep their five DCIAA East Division contests en route to a 7-3 record, stoking ambitions of the school's first Turkey Bowl title.
If Ballou was found to have used ineligible players then they would have had to relinquish their wins and Anacostia would take Ballou's place in the District's football playoffs. So what were the findings of the investigation?
Ballou Forfeits Victories, Loses Spot in Playoffs

Ballou High's football team lost its spot in tomorrow's D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association semifinals, when it was forced to forfeit its seven victories for using an academically ineligible player, Knights Coach Moe Ware said yesterday.

With the ouster of the Knights, who had finished first in the DCIAA's East Division, the East's third-place team, Anacostia, will get a berth in the semifinals. Anacostia will face West Division champion Dunbar tomorrow morning at 11, and East runner-up H.D. Woodson will get the division's top seed and face West runner-up Wilson at 5:30 p.m. Both games will be played at Anacostia.
But wait. This is the District after all and nothing here is ever straightforward. Less than 24 hours after DCPS removed Ballou from the playoffs Superintendent Janey voided the investigator's findings.
"While I am glad the Ballou players will be allowed to compete in the semifinals," Janey said in a statement, "I am not satisfied that apparently several DCPS staff members failed to follow the proper procedures for determining a student's eligibility to participate in athletic competition."

DCPS bylaws state "all challenges to the eligibility of individual players lodged by principals shall be made within twelve (12) days of the beginning of the advisory in which the challenge in lodged."

According to Janey's ruling, the challenge -- lodged by an undisclosed DCIAA school -- was filed Oct. 18. The first advisory for D.C. schools began Aug. 28.

The DCPS division of school security conducted a month-long investigation into the eligibility of junior wide receiver Anthony McDonald and senior running back Dwan Thornton, stemming from grades they obtained in summer school courses. McDonald was determined ineligible earlier this week; Thornton was cleared to play. Janey ruled that McDonald will still be ineligible for the postseason.
So how has this entire fiasco ended? Ballou beat Wilson 30-0 and will meet Dunbar, who beat Woodsen 22-14 in the other semifinal, in the Turkey Bowl.

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