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HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS BASKETBALL: Charger girls used ineligible player

Chancellor’s girls basketball team has forfeited a Christmas tournament game and the school will pay a $100 fine for using an ineligible player, Chargers athletic director Rod Crooks confirmed Monday.

Chancellor coach William Griffin said he was also suspended by the school for the Chargers’ game against Spotsylvania on Jan. 27 and he will not coach when the two teams play again at Chancellor tonight.

“I feel bad,” Griffin said Monday. “I really felt bad for the athlete that I made a stupid mistake.

“When I read the rule and the interpretation it was kind of vague, but it didn’t really apply.”

The Chargers played a Spotsylvania High School student in their game against Landstown High School on Dec. 28 at the Ronald Curry and Boo Williams Christmas Classic at Hampton.

Griffin misinterpreted a VHSL rule allowing athletes to participate with teams not affiliated with any high school—typically club and travel teams functioning outside the VHSL’s domain.

But Section 28 of the VHSL Handbook and Policy Manual addresses individual eligibility, and the very first rule is explicit: “The student shall be a regular bona fide student in good standing of the school which he/she represents.”

Chancellor self-reported the incident to the Virginia High School League.

The Chargers lost the game, 47–42, and the forfeit will not change their 15–3 overall record.

“It was like shock and awe,” Crooks said. “We’ve never heard anything like this, and neither had the VHSL. It’s very unique.

“I don’t know where the idea came from. But any time you have something like that happen in your department, it will be looked at closely. And it’s not anything to smile about.”

The Spotsylvania player will not be punished for the infraction, a decision Crooks endorsed.

“It was an adult decision,” he said, “an adult who was responsible for the team that represented the school.”

Griffin is in his third season at Chancellor. He previously spent a year as head coach at Massaponax, following a longer stint at Middlesex High School.

The coach said he thinks the forfeiture, fine and his two-game suspension will put the matter to rest. Crooks said any further review of the violation would come after the season.

“We’re not going to totally punish the rest of the girls for someone else’s mistake,” he said.

The $100 fine is mandated by the handbook and paid by the school to the VHSL.

Griffin said he did not know he had broken the rules, and wasn’t made aware until it was called to his attention “several days” later.

Crooks said he learned of the violation after the Christmas break had ended. He has since reviewed eligibility requirements with Chancellor’s other varsity sports coaches.

“Even for the veteran coaches, sometimes you think everybody already understands,” Crooks said. “But because of this situation, we certainly took the time to review it.”

Justin Rice: 540/368-5045

jrice@freelancestar.com

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/hsfb/2014/02/03/high-school-girls-basketball-charger-girls-used-ineligible-player/

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