Originally Published: Nov 7, 2009 1:55 AM CDT
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer
DURANT, Oklahoma -- Durant High School could be forced to forfeit their entire season, pending an eligibility ruling by the OSSAA.
According to the Durant Daily Democrat, Daryn Alves, the Lions’ quarterback, was ruled ineligible by the OSSAA.
Durant District Superintendent Dr. Jason Simeroth said the school was notified by the OSSAA of the ruling Friday morning, just hours before the team’s make-or-break game against Ardmore.
“In the last week of the season, we were told that he was not going to be eligible for the year,” Simeroth said.
The OSSAA was tipped-off by an anonymous e-mail Monday, questioning Alves’ eligibility status.
The e-mail stated that Alves was expelled from all Texas schools last year, and enrolled at a charter school for the remainder of the 2009 spring semester. Consequently, it questioned why Alves was allowed to play for the Lions, since this violates Rule 4.
Durant High School filed proof of residency for Alves, who had transferred to the school after moving from Texas.
School officials communicated with the OSSAA prior to the student’s transfer, making sure to adhere to all the organization’s rules regarding player eligibility.
“We thought we did everything correctly,” Simeroth said.
Ultimately, after exhausting all resources with the OSSAA, Simeroth said the school accepted the ruling.
“We were discouraged, but I think the thing we have to look at, that there were mistakes made,” Simeroth said. “We could have had a little more documentation from them at the beginning after they approved?it’s just a learning experience.”
After being notified of Alves’ ineligibly, parents filed a temporary injunction, which was ultimately granted by Bryan County District judge Mark Campbell. Alves was given the opportunity to play in the team’s crucial week 10 game.
If the Lions, playing with Alves, beat the Ardmore Tigers and win an appeal to the OSSAA in favor of Alves’ eligibility, they could secure a playoff berth with a 5-5 record.
If the Lions, playing with Alves, beat the Ardmore Tiger but lose the appeal to the OSSAA, they’d sacrifice their entire season. The Lions would be left with a 0-10 season.
The team lost Friday’s game against Ardmore, but the fight continues to restore Durant’s 4-6 record. If the ruling is not reversed, Durant will have zero wins this season.
“As you can imagine, this is something they’ve fought for all year,” Simeroth said. “They played as hard as they’ve played all season, and they played really well.”
As a result of the season in peril, Simeroth said the school will take every precaution in the future not to repeat this experience. He went on to say he’s certain the Durant football program can bounce back from a rough end to their season.
“That’s the other good thing about kids, they’re very resilient. They love to play, they love the sport,” Simeroth said. “They’ll be back next year, just as fired up, just as anxious to win a district and a state championship as they were this year.”
Durant is expected to appeal the ruling at Wednesday's meeting of the OSSAA's Board of Directors. The Lions are the next in a long list of schools forced to vacate wins, including Booker T. Washington, Sand Springs, and Jones. Earlier this fall, Jenks was forced to vacate wins in 2008.
Oklahoma Sports will be attending the meeting and will have updates on this investigation, along with other football programs under investigation throughout the state.