Waskom Forfeits All Seven Wins After Using An Ineligible Player
The University Interscholastic League has forced Waskom High School to forfeit all seven of their wins this football season after it was discovered they had been using an ineligible player, according to athletic director and head football coach Whitney Keeling.
Waskom, which was one win away from securing its first playoff berth since 1992, is now no longer in contention for the postseason.
Keeling said the decision came down to a birth certificate. The coach said the player in question has lived with father ever since birth, but that his father's name is not listed on his son's birth certificate. Therefore, the student-athlete was not considered a legitimate resident of the school district because there was no proof he was living within Waskom ISD with a legal guardian.
"I didn't know about it until we had a meeting today to discuss a residency issue," Keeling said. "We got to the meeting and we proved that he was a legal resident in the district. There was no issue with that. Then the question became was he living with a legal guardian."
Keeling said the school district has no grounds for an appeal.
"There's no appeals process because there's nothing to appeal," he said. "Is his father's name on the birth certificate? No it's not. So there's no appeal."
Keeling did say the school could file paperwork to prove to the UIL that the father is the player's biological father, but that it wouldn't accomplish much.
"You could, but it's going to take a while to get those legal documents, and by then our football season will be over," he said. "Could we got those seven wins back? Probably, but it wouldn't matter in the grand scheme of things."
Keeling met with his players earlier Tuesday afternoon.
"It's very difficult," he said. "I just met with my football team and there were a lot of tears shed by them and myself. It's very disappointing for them. They're young men being told something they don't really understand as kids, obviously, when it comes to paper work. By no fault of their own ... there was nothing done illegally, unethically or immorally. It's a very unfortunate turn of events."
The UIL's decision makes Friday night's regular-season finales between New Diana (5-4, 3-3) and DeKalb (4-5, 4-2) and Paul Pewitt (4-5, 4-2) and Elysian Fields big ones as they relate to the playoff race in District 9-2A Division II.
Hughes Springs and Elysian Fields have already clinched two of the district's three playoff spots, leaving New Diana, DeKalb and Paul Pewitt competing for the last postseason spot.
If New Diana defeats DeKalb, and Paul Pewitt loses its game Friday against Elysian Fields, there will be a three-way tie at 4-3 which would cause the district's points system to come into play to determine the final playoff spot.
New Diana coach Brent Ratliff said that if a three-way tie for third occurs, the only way his team makes the playoffs is if they beat DeKalb by at least 11 points.