The Carroll boys basketball team is having to forfeit 17 of its 20 victories and the school has been fined $250 and placed on one-year probation by the Alabama High School Athletic Association for an ineligible player, confirmed Ozark City Schools Superintendent Dr. Rick McInturf Wednesday afternoon to the Dothan Eagle.
McInturf said the school became aware of a potential violation and self-reported it to the AHSAA last week after looking into the issue. The AHSAA sent its official ruling later in the week and Ozark officials received that letter on Tuesday.
“This was an unfortunate situation that dealt with their (AHSAA) bona fide move rule,” McInturf said to the Dothan Eagle Wednesday afternoon. “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 and has not played in the last three games, which coincidentally have all been area games.
The player, a current sophomore, is ineligible to participate in athletics at Carroll for one year from the date of his enrollment, which was August 2018, provided all principal members of his family reside in the school zone.
He would also be required by AHAA 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.
As a result of the AHSAA ruling, the Carroll boys basketball record goes from 20-6 down to 3-23, though all three of the wins are Class 5A, Area 3 games. All of the victories from the season opener on Nov. 12 through the Downtown Dothan Hoops Classic on Dec. 31 were forfeited.
“We caught this before the area schedule started, so the area record is intact (3-0) and we are still eligible for postseason play,” McInturf said. “If there is any kind of silver lining, that is it — we caught this before area play.”
The superintendent said officials have not decided yet if they will appeal the AHSAA ruling, but might do so to seek quicker eligibility for the player. He cited several “hardship issues” related to the move, but didn’t elaborate.
“We are contemplating an appeal,” McInturf said. “I don’t think we are going to be successful in appealing the facts of the bona fide move, but we would probably relay more of the hardship details that are associated with it and plead for the (AHSAA) director’s reconsideration of this (kid’s eligibility).
“If there is any way to make this boy eligible sooner we would like to make that happen.”
If Carroll does appeal, it would plead the case first in front of the local four-person District 1 Board. If denied by that board, it could go in front of the AHSAA Central Board.
The 17 forfeits also affect Carroll head coach Raymond White, who had moved into fourth place on the AHSAA all-time coaching wins list on Dec. 13 with a win over Headland with his 813th victory. He moved past veteran Huntsville-area coach Jack Doss.
White’s win total reached 822 following the Downtown Dothan Hoops Classic. However, because of the forfeits, his total now goes back to 805 and behind Doss (812).
Efforts Wednesday to reach White for comment were unsuccessful.
“It is unfortunate for the boy, unfortunate for the team,” McInturf said. “It is unfortunate all the way around. There was nothing intentional about it.
“Right now we are moving forward and complying with the rule.”