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Tulsa's Booker T. Investigation: Softball Team Forfeits 13 Games

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The team has to forfeit 13 varsity softball games this year and that will cost them the All-City Softball Championship. BTW's head softball coach is on probation. The team has to forfeit 13 varsity softball games this year and that will cost them the All-City Softball Championship. BTW's head softball coach is on probation.
"The most important thing is what happened to kids. That's our biggest concern. These kids didn't have anything to do with this, other than wanting to come to Booker T. Washington," said Kevin Burr, Area Superintendent for High Schools. "The most important thing is what happened to kids. That's our biggest concern. These kids didn't have anything to do with this, other than wanting to come to Booker T. Washington," said Kevin Burr, Area Superintendent for High Schools.

By Ashli Sims, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- There's another blow for a flagship Tulsa high school accused of breaking the eligibility rules for its student athletes. Tulsa Public Schools ruled a sixth Booker T. Washington student athlete ineligible.

Tulsa Public School leaders say there could be more to come.

In this situation, it's not just the coaches and students who broke the rules who feel the weight of the punishment. The eligibility scandal is costing a whole team of Hornet athletes a championship.

The All-City Softball Championship was a breakthrough moment for Booker T. Washington softball. The Lady Hornets snapped an eight-year winning streak by the Memorial Chargers. But TPS says a member of the team was ineligible, so now the whole team is stripped of their title.

10/27/2009  Related Story: Penalties Recommended For Tulsa's Booker T. Washington Athletic Staff

"The most important thing is what happened to kids. That's our biggest concern. These kids didn't have anything to do with this, other than wanting to come to Booker T. Washington," said Kevin Burr, Area Superintendent for High Schools.

TPS announced Booker T. Washington violated a string of Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association rules. A district investigation found a Booker T. football coach drove two students from neighboring communities to attend the school. They also discovered another student was allowed to practice and play in a scrimmage with the Hornet football team, while he was still enrolled in a local private school. Two coaches were sidelined, an assistant athletic director resigned, and another coach was put on probation.

Read the complete Booker T. Washington report.

In all, six students will have to sit out. It's a move that affects not just their athletic careers, but their teams' chances.

"We just hate it. We're sick about the fact that these six kids, that something is going to have to happen to them as a result of this," said Kevin Burr.

Even though TPS holds the adults responsible for the violations, Kevin Burr says the district couldn't avoid punishing the students.

"And every time we kept coming back to what we knew the OSSAA would expect of a school district," said Kevin Burr.

That means 13 wins from this year will turn into losses and one softball player will have to sit out another 13 games next year.

Kevin Burr says the investigation is ongoing and right now they're taking a close look at academic eligibility. The district's investigation found Booker T. didn't check grades for a whole month, so more students could soon be ruled ineligible.

10/28/2009  Related Story: Explanation Of OSSAA Recruiting Rules

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