MARYLAND

Northwestern High football player's eligibility questioned

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The Northwestern Wildcats were having their best football season in about a decade. With six wins and one loss the team was on track to the playoffs, but now a rule that prevents coaches from stealing players from other high schools may end it all, only in this case, a group of parents claim no one, including the coach, knew one of their Wildcats wasn’t supposed to be on the field.

“It’s hard to apply a rule that in principle doesn’t meet what is going on,” says John Seard.

Seard’s son is the quarterback, a senior with interest from college teams. Seard says everyone was shocked when they learned one player’s address meant he was supposed to be at High Point High and not Northwestern. Seard said the sophomore played for only a few minutes in two games, but when the student’s actual residence and subsequent ineligibility came to light, the team learned they would have to forfeit two wins as a consequence.

Prince George’s County’s athletic director, Earl Hawkins, couldn’t be reached, but he recently told two local newspapers the student gave a false address. Michael Hardie, one of the team’s volunteer coaches, questions if the school was responsible to make sure the student was enrolled at the right school.

“Why do our kids who put in so much work have to be punished?” asks Hardie. “He’s not being punished. They just sent him back to where he came from.”

Prince George’s County schools wouldn’t say if the student accidentally or intentionally gave a false address, but with six senior players with college offers, three from Division I schools, parents argue it is an unfair call to punish them all.

“This type of black eye could create a scenario where my son or anyone else’s son could be looked at unfavorably,” says Seard.

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