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October 26, 2012 at 4:22 PM

Clover Park forced to forfeit 2 football games; SPSL 2A a mess – UPDATE

I just got word that Clover Park has had to forfeit two football games for using an ineligible player.

Here is the press release from the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association:

RENTON, Wash. – During an October 26 teleconference call the WIAA Executive Board had with the Clover Park High School Administration, the school reported that an ineligible student-athlete had participated in four varsity football contests during the 2012 season.

The Executive Board ruled that Clover Park High School would forfeit two of the four games, because of the impact the student-athlete had in each of the contests. The two games forfeited included contests against White River High School and Franklin Pierce High School. The WIAA Executive Board also ruled that the programs would be placed on a two-year probation, during which there would be a consistent monitoring of the school’s athletic clearing process by the WIAA.

Since the infraction was submitted by a team in playoff contention, the case can only be heard by the WIAA Executive Board as per state law.

This has to do with Senate Bill 6383 that the state legislature passed earlier this year. You can find the bill (now law) here.

Before the press release came out, I had spoken with Mike Colbrese, WIAA executive director, who confirmed the information. Then I called Clover Park coach John Randall, who hadn’t gotten the news yet and was understandably upset. He was the one who self-reported the fact that he had discovered this week that the player — a transfer — did not meet eligibility requirements.

It could have been worse. The player actually appeared in four games, three of them Clover Park victories (the other a 22-14 loss to Washington. But starting this school year, thanks to the new legislation, the WIAA Executive Board has the ability to use discretion when determining sanctions in these type of instances. In years past, the situations were more cut-and-dry.

The Executive Board determined the player did not have a “significant impact” in CP’s 52-46 win over Orting, but he did impact the victories over White River (26-13) and Franklin Pierce (21-14) the past two weeks, according to Colbrese. Therefore, the Warriors must forfeit those games.

And now the already jumbled SPSL 2A is an even bigger mess heading into tonight’s final round of regular-season games.

Clover Park was 4-2 in league play (5-3 overall) and tied for second with Steilacoom and Washington. Sumner is in first place at 5-1 and those four teams were assured of the league’s four berths into the preliminary playoffs.

Now, the standings look like this:

Sumner 5-1

Steilacoom 4-2

Washington 4-2

White River 3-3

Clover Park 2-4

Fife 2-4

Franklin Pierce 2-4

Orting 2-4

Tonight’s schedule: Washington @ Franklin Pierce, Steilacoom @ Clover Park, Sumner @ White River and Fife @ Orting.

I heard back from Lakes athletic director Scott Nordi, the commissioner for SPSL 2A football. He verified the revised standings below and that the top three teams would be in the playoffs, win or lose tonight. White River would be in with a win over Sumner. If the Hornets lose, they would fall into a fourth-place tie with the winner of the FP-Orting game — and possibly Clover Park and Franklin Pierce, if both were to win.

“It’s a mess,” Randall said.

He did not want to comment further on the situation, but said the sanctions might make some coaches and administrators think twice about self-reporting similar incidents.

“Now people just aren’t going to say anything,” he said.

Nordi said two-way ties will be broken by head-to-head results between the teams involved. If Fife beats Orting, White River will get the fourth and final playoff spot, regardless of how they do tonight, based on head-to-head records.

But there is a possibility of a three- or four-way tie for fourth, if Orting beats Fife, and in that case Nordi said a mini-playoff will take place on Tuesday.



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