Westside Wolves Forfeit Last Season Due to Ineligible Football Player

Westside High School Principal Paul Castro sent out a sad message to students and parents yesterday, informing them that the school is forfeiting all of last season’s football games and the first one of this season.

In 2006, the Wolves finished 10-2 on the season and won district. They were 3-1 this season, but with the forfeit of the win over Texas City, the record is now 2-2.

The state’s University Interscholastic League State Executive Committee decided the punishment for the infraction, which was self-reported by the school.

“Two weeks ago, while reviewing a student-athlete’s academic record for credit purposes, we found that this 18-year-old student was in his sixth year of high school. We immediately reported the issue to the UIL District Executive Committee chairman and athletic department and requested a meeting to review the case. The DEC voted the only way that it was allowed under UIL rules, which was to recommend a forfeiture of our first football game of this season as well as a forfeiture of all games last season,” Castro wrote in his e-mail to the Westside list-serve.

The rest of his e-mail:

“The student in question had a patchwork enrollment history in his early academic career and had been mistakenly coded as a 10th grade student in his fourth year of high school when he enrolled at Westside. His academic records did not catch up until November of that year. However, at the time that his coaches checked for eligibility, there was no reason for them to believe that he was anything other than a 10th-grade student, which is what the computer showed. That year he was 16-years old (which is age-appropriate for a sophomore) and his academic record reflected work that led us to believe he was a sophomore. Our staff followed procedures that had been in place since Westside opened.

The UIL’s Constitution and Contest Rules Sec. 27 b (3) allows for schools to avoid forfeiture of games when the school “has properly verified eligibility based on the facts available [and] has exercised sufficient diligence in determining actual conditions and facts.” We believed that we showed this exemption applied in our case. We also believed that self-reporting the issue would increase the chance of leniency. The UIL State Executive Committee voted against us anyway.

As a result of the action taken yesterday, Westside will forfeit all games last year and the Texas City game this year, in which the student played. At this point, no other action will be taken against the school. This action will not affect any other UIL program on campus nor will it impact any individual records earned last year. “

Margaret Downing


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