The CIAC has ruled the Central boys basketball team will forfeit its season-opening victory over Staples for the use of an ineligible player, according to Bridgeport citywide athletic director Jim Denton.
Central, which self-reported the violation, falls to 10-1. Staples, the beneficiary of the forfeit, improves to 6-6. The game also counts toward the FCIAC regular season. Central, the top-ranked team in Connecticut, is now 9-1 in the FCIAC. Staples improves to 4-6.
According to a statement Denton read to the Connecticut Post, the unnamed player is a Bridgeport charter school student who resides in the Harding High School district. He played football for the Presidents this fall.
The student subsequently became a member of the Central boys basketball team in December and played off the bench in the closing minutes of Central’s 83-38 victory over Staples on December 16.
“As soon as the situation became apparent, the individual was released from the team and the violation reported to the CIAC,” Denton said. “Since the player participated in the first game of the season, the CIAC has ruled Central must forfeit the victory.”
There are several charter schools in the Bridgeport school system. According to district and state policy, if a charter school does not offer any sports, its students are allowed to participate at the high school of their home district.
Since the student lived in Harding’s district, he is required to play athletics at Harding. Denton said he found out about the violation after “an individual in the community” informed him about it after seeing the player’s name in the box score. However, Denton declined to say who told him.
Denton also said that no one from Central knew the player lived in Harding’s district, or that he played football for Harding. However, they did know he was a charter school student.
Denton declined further comment. Central hosts Danbury at 7 p.m. tonight.
–SEAN PATRICK BOWLEY & HENRY CHISHOLM