An ineligible student athlete was allowed to play football all season at New Town High School in an administrative gaffe committed by school officials that is "very, very rare," the MPSSAA's executive director said.
The team must forfeit its entire season -- one in which the Titans went 10-1 -- and will not participate in the MPSSAA Class 1A North Final. New Town had beat Northwestern 40-12 in a semifinal game last week and was slated to play Overlea Friday.
All of that has been wiped away because a player on the New Town roster had exhausted all of his years of high school sports eligibility, said Ned Sparks, executive director of the state's governing body for high school athletics.
There is no appeals process, Sparks said. The verdict has been delivered verbally, but official paperwork is still being drawn up.
"It is kind of a strange set of circumstances," he said. "Apparently, for whatever reason, no one thought to check [earlier in the season]."
Sparks said the MPSSAA was notified about the eligibility issue by Baltimore County Public Schools. It is the responsibility of individual schools to monitor the elibility of their athletes, Sparks said.
He was especially puzzled because the student athlete in question had exhausted his elibility at another local school. Sparks called allowing an ineligible athlete to play all season "very, very rare."
"This is a hard one, because it's not like the youngster moved in from Montana or something and didn’t have any records," he said. "He played in a school [Milford Mill] that wasn’t that far away."
Parents have been invited to speak with New Town High School administrators about the situation in the school library Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.