By Kyle Dierking, The News On 6 Sports
TULSA, OK -- The Oklahoma Secondary Schools Association unanimously rejected Jenks High School's appeal on the eligibly of senior football player Jarrett Lake on Tuesday.
Jenks must forfeit the nine games in which Lake started last season as well as its state runner-up trophy.
"This is the game I love," Lake said. "It really is tough for me. When one door closes, God opens up five new doors for you. That's how I'm looking at this situation."
The OSSAA ruled Lake ineligible because of the dual residency rule. Lake's aunt and his guardian, Claira Williams, has homes in North Carolina and Tulsa.
"The only reason why it is an issue is because my name is on the deed. I live here, I pay taxes here, I'm here in Oklahoma," Williams said. "I don't live in North Carolina, but my husband lives in North Carolina. That's the crux of it."
Lake has been staying with the parents of former Jenks defensive back and current OU football player Gabe Lynn.
"There are kids playing football, basketball and track in Tulsa, in Jenks, in Union, in Broken Arrow that have other homes - second homes within the city," said Tyrone Lynn. "Knowing that, we never thought that would be an issue."
The OSSAA also found Lake was ineligible at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia, the school he previously attended. He was found ineligible because of an outstanding bill. Therefore, according to OSSAA rules, Lake was ruled ineligible at Jenks. According to Tyrone Lynn, the bill has since been paid.
Lake, who is verbally committed to the University of Oklahoma, will return to Jenks and attend classes. He cannot participate in any games with the Trojans, but according to Lake, he can practice and work out with the team.
"To tell you the truth, I'm not going to let that bring me down," Lake said on Tuesday evening. "The negative thing is, I won't be able to play with my team that I've established a relationship with - coaches and just the overall community at Jenks. The positive thing is, I still have my scholarship and I can stay with my family."
There were discussions of Lake attending Holland Hall, a Tulsa private school not affiliated with the OSSAA, but he ultimately decided it was best to return to Jenks.
"It just came down to, Jarrett said, ‘I want to graduate with the students in my classroom, the school that has accepted me,'" Lynn said. "There's no question Holland Hall would have, but he loves those guys (at Jenks)."
The OSSAA investigation rooted from an April 10th e-mail from a parent indicating that his or her son was, "getting screwed out of playing."
"My youngest son is a 10th grader and will be competing against the kid who I hear is from North Carolina and was never raised in Oklahoma," the e-mail read. "He moved in with the police man a year ago, which is a violation of your own rules."
"It's hard to see him as a victim," Lynn said. "We see this as a stumbling block, but we can't just see him as a victim. He's got some major opportunities ahead of him. When he gets over this, it just prepares him for OU, which is going to be tough."
In the meantime, Lake will attend class, practice with Jenks and work out with a personal trainer as he looks ahead to his college football career.
"Going from not playing a season to a program in the Big 12 like OU is going to be challenging," Lake said. "The best is yet to come for me. I think it will be challenging, but I'll be able to pull it off."