09/08/06 — Goldsboro forfeits Jones Senior win

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Goldsboro forfeits Jones Senior win

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on September 8, 2006 2:18 PM

Goldsboro High seeks its first victory of the season heading into tonight's non-conference encounter at county rival Charles B. Aycock.

Principal Patricia Burden informed Jones Senior officials Tuesday morning that Goldsboro had to forfeit the game after an ineligible player had participated in the Cougars' 20-12 win Monday afternoon.

"During the game, we had scouts here to look at Goldsboro for their game," said Burden. "The scouts were from the school the student had originally attended as a ninth grader.

"We realized that based on a report from the school that was scouting, the student had used up his semesters of eligibility last June. We did not catch that."

According to an anonymous source, the athlete in question failed his freshman year at Aycock and transferred to Goldsboro High in 2003. He is currently a senior, but has surpassed the eight-semester eligibility rule set by the N.C. High School Athletic Association.

When the student's information was placed into the North Carolina Window of Information on Student Education (NCWISE), the student was not red-flagged. Burden said the system checks for attendance, medical issues and informs school officials of which guardian is allowed to sign the student out of school.

A student's eligibility is not questioned by the system.

"I really don't know if the system had it set up for him to be red-flagged or if the name was submitted," said Burden. "It depends on where they got the information to check the eligibility."

Burden said the student's transcript needed to be scrutinized more closely and that his age should have been checked. She contended a specific procedure is now in place to help discover any future eligibility issues.

"I have asked the athletic director to make a checklist and put a warning signal on it to check the student's birthdate," said Burden. "If the age is 17 or 18, they need to check the number of semesters on the transcript. It has the grades listed, the number of classes they took and the credits they received."

Burden telephoned Jones Senior to report the infraction. She did not speak to the principal, but did converse with the assistant principal, who is also the athletics director.

"Not only did we write a letter to the association, but we wrote a letter to the principal of Jones Senior," said Burden. "The assistant principal was very understanding and was polite in accepting our handling of the situation.

"He was pleased that we just didn't send a letter, but that we also took the time to call to offer our apologies that it happened."

Burden's initiative to self-report the violation to the N.C. High School Athletic Association led to a reduction in the fine for breaking eligibility rules. The association levied a $250 penalty instead of the normal $500.

"For us, there is a blessing in the bad situation that occurred," said Burden. "The blessing is that the games we had played so far were non-conference games, so we found out at a good time.

"I am sorry that it was the first win for our varsity team."

Goldsboro fell to 0-3 overall.

In 2002, the football team had to forfeit 10 wins after using an ineligible player. The Cougars lost to Wilson Fike in the eastern 3-A regional championship game that season.