Central forfeits three games over ineligible player

(Photo by Marion. R. Walding)

TUSCALOOSA | Central High School has been fined, placed on probation for one year and ordered to forfeit three varsity football games and six junior varsity boys’ basketball games for violating AHSAA eligibility rules, according to an announcement on the AHSAA website.

Central Principal Clarence Sutton and head football coach Dennis Conner issued a statement to "apologize for our oversight in the process."

The AHSAA release stated Central used a transfer student during the season in violation of the Bona Fide Transfer Rule. Central had to forfeit all contests its teams won in which the student participated. The probationary period is a warning that other violations of this nature could bring further sanctions against the school.

Football forfeits include wins over Paul W. Bryant, Fairfield and American Christian Academy. The Falcons beat Paul W. Bryant 30-9 on Oct. 12; Fairfield 16-14 on Oct. 26; and ACA 26-14 on Nov. 2. With the victories, the Falcons had a 6-4 regular-season record. Walker beat Central 30-7 in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs.

Forfeits in junior varsity boys basketball were to Holt; McAdory, two games; Brookwood; Demopolis and Tuscaloosa County. The student played in four varsity football games and 13 junior varsity basketball games, according to the Central statement.

In their statement, Central officials said they conducted an investigation that centered on a Hillcrest student who sought a transfer to Central. A parent requested the transfer on April 4.

"We explained to the parents the rules of the AHSAA and that the only method that the student could participate in athletics is that it was a ‘bona fide’ move," the statement said.

"The parents did move into a residence in the Central High School (zone). The parents did provide the proper documents to support their move to that residence. Two of our administrative team visited the home to verify that they did move to that residence. We did not verify that the original residence should be closed, rented or disposed of and not used by the family."