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Carroll High School’s appeal of basketball forfeitures and a player’s ineligibility was heard Tuesday afternoon in Ozark, but the penalties remained in place.

The school was penalized by the Alabama High School Athletic Association on Jan. 7 for an ineligible player and required to forfeit 17 victories. It was also imposed a $250 fine and placed on one-year probation.

The penalties were because of a violation of the AHSAA’s Bona Fine transfer rule that states, “All principal members of the family must reside in the new place of residence.”

On Tuesday, Carroll and Ozark school officials made an appeal to the four-person District 2 board during a meeting at the Ozark School Board office, but to no avail.

“They voted unanimously to uphold the decision of the Executive Director and expressed compassion and understanding for the situation, but opted not to make an exception to the transfer rule,” Ozark City Schools Superintendent Dr. Rick McInturf said Wednesday morning.

The appeal is the first of a two-part appeal system within the AHSAA. The second is meeting before the 15-member AHSAA Central Board. However since the board just met Wednesday, it would mean waiting for the next board meeting in April or require Ozark to bring the 15-member board together for an earlier meeting at the Ozark City School System’s expense.

“That decision is not 100 percent made, but we are leaning toward probably not,” McInturf said, speaking early Wednesday shortly after the official letter from the AHSAA district board. “We are not 100 percent certain.”

McInturf, in a Jan. 15 Dothan Eagle interview, said it was an “unfortunate” set of circumstances that led to the player to become ineligible, including several hardships. Out of respect for the family, he wouldn’t divulge the hardships.

“This was an unfortunate situation that dealt with their (AHSAA) Bona Fide move rule,” McInturf said. “We self-reported it as soon as we found out about it right after Christmas to seek a ruling for it.

“The details are somewhat kind of complicated, but basically a player moved from Dothan up here (over the summer) and we were under the impression the entire family was coming, but in reality the boy came to live with the dad who already lived here, but the mom did not come.”

As a result, McInturf said Carroll was in violation of the AHSAA’s Bona Fide Move rule.

“The actual wording on it, ‘All principal members of the family must reside in the new place of residence,’” McInturf said of the rule that was violated.

“Once it was determined that the mom stayed in Dothan and the dad was living in Ozark and they are in fact still married, all principal members were not all in one place,” McInturf added.

McInturf said the player was immediately pulled off the school’s C2C website roster upon learning of the potential infraction.

The player, a sophomore, is ineligible to participate in athletics at Carroll for one year from the date of his enrollment, which was August 2018.

The player would also be required by AHSAA Student Restitution rules to sit out the “games equal to the amount of games he played in and in our case, that would be 20 games,” said McInturf.

As a result, McInturf indicated the player probably wouldn’t be able to play at Carroll until around Christmas time next season. He would then be able to finish out his junior year and be completely eligible for his senior season.

None of Carroll’s area games were affected by the forfeits, which all came before January. The Eagles are currently 5-0 in area play and can clinch the area regular-season title with a win Friday at Greenville.

David is sports writer for Dothan Eagle.

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