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Westhill football team forced to forfeit four wins due to use of ineligible player

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The Westhill High School football team, reveling in its best season in 25 years under first-year coach Frank Marcucio, was jolted Tuesday morning when it was forced to forfeit four of its five victories for using an ineligible player.

School officials learned of the violation, involving a defensive starter who is a fifth-year senior, on Monday, and Westhill athletic director Mike King reported the incident to the CIAC, the state’s governing body for high school sports, later that day.

CIAC executive director Karissa Niehoff said on Tuesday morning that it had yet to receive the official report but that the organization was taking actions as if the violation were verified.

“If I had an idea the kid was ineligible he wouldn’t have played,” Marcucio said on Tuesday.

The incident had a wide-ranging ripple effect, not just in Stamford but throughout the state. Westhill would have taken a 5-4 record into Thursday’s game with Stamford High and the chance to finish with a winning record for the first time since 1987. And the timing could not have been worse, coming exactly a week before the start of the CIAC football playoffs, which uses a point system to determine the eight qualifiers in four different divisions. The forfeiture of wins against Trumbull, Norwalk, Bridgeport Central and Danbury forced a recalibration of the standings, aiding teams that initially appeared to be longshots to earn playoff spots, while hurting others.

Talking about schools that suddenly saw the road to earning postseason berths lengthen, Niehoff said, “Your heart breaks for the kids first. It’s no fault of the student-athletes because of one school’s mistake. To have to change your mindset is devastating. Now think of the Westhill kids. Boy your heart breaks for them too.”

Marcucio said his players were more upbeat than expected at Monday’s practice. “The kids knew about it yesterday and the kids’ comment was they can’t take away what we did on the field,” Marcucio said.

Asked if he thought his team’s preparation for the Thanksgiving game with Stamford would be compromised, Marcucio said, “After yesterday’s practice, I think it helped bring the team even closer together probably. As I told the kids, I’ve preached all year that sometimes adversity comes and all you can do is smack it in the mouth and move on.”

This is the third time in the last 14 months a Westhill team has had to forfeit victories due to ineligible players. The first incident occurred in September of 2011, when the boys soccer team had three wins overturned. Four months later, the boys basketball team had a win over Bassick taken away.

King declined to discuss the latest infraction. “We don’t comment on disciplinary actions for students,” King said.

The news broke just two days before the Vikings’ game against Stamford, and the chance to finish with their first winning record since 1987, when they ended up 5-4-1. It would have been the fitting climax to a season in which the team instilled added life into the student body, as attendance soared for Saturday afternoon home contests, and the Westhill motto of “Purple Pride” became a more popular refrain.

“If anything this will make us work harder,” said Chris Soule, a team captain and the starting offensive guard and defensive tackle, about the game against the rival Black Knights. “We are kind of now playing like we have something to prove.”

The Vikings’ 41-28 win over Wilton on Nov. 10 will stand because the player involved was inactive for that game, as well as last weekend’s loss to Staples.

“He was suspended for a violation of team rules unrelated to the eligibility issue,” Marcucio said. “He probably wouldn’t have played against Stamford.”

With the state playoffs set to start on Tuesday, and the regular season ending with games Wednesday and Thursday, Niehoff said, “This is a pretty urgent situation.”

Teams that went to bed Monday night with dire hopes woke up Tuesday morning to renewed optimism because of a shifting of bonus points in the CIAC’s scoring system. Perhaps the team that benefited the most was Ridgefield, which now can qualify for a berth in the Class LL field with a win against Danbury and a victory by Fairfield Prep over West Haven.

“It’s unfortunate what happened, I feel bad for the kids,” Ridgefield coach Kevin Callahan said. “Obviously we gained from this so we feel lucky about that. It fell into our laps.”

The situation also had an impact on another of Westhill’s intra-city rivals. Trinity Catholic would have automatically qualified for the Class S Tournament with a win on Thursday at Wilton. The Crusaders are still in a strong position, but they will now need a little bit of outside help.

“It’s unfortunate any time you have forfeits or games where outcomes are not decided on the field,” said Matt Fischer, the CIAC’s director of information services, who oversees the state playoff standings. “It’s especially disheartening when you have a point system where it affects other schools.”

Marcucio was hired as the Vikings’ coach back in April, almost three years after he was fired by Bassick at the end of spring football practice.

“After what happened to me at Bassick, this is worse,” Marcucio said.

Categories: General

64 Responses

  1. Dave Ruden says:

    Over for now unless something comes of it.

  2. jeb says:

    Dave,

    Will their be an article in the paper about what really transpired with the inelibable player and the consequense the school will take or is it over now.

  3. Don says:

    Dear Dave, aren’t there four infractions, not three? I think the boys baseball team forfeited a win last Spring 2012 against Wilton or Weston because of an illegal player. Whether any of these were intentional or not, I have to believe Mr. King sincerely wants his students to be successful. So he needs to do some serious self-examination of why this keeps happening under his leadership. And then make the necessary corrections. His students deserve that much at least.

  4. Just a Fan says:

    Maybe the Athletic Director should be looked at, not only for this infraction but also past infractions.. the totality leaves a layman wondering. Im sure he is paid a very handsome salary. Maybe he should earn his money. This never should have happened now or in the past two years.

  5. Dave Ruden says:

    I almost didn’t print this because the accusation against Stamford High is WAY off base and not true, but the rest of your sentiments deserve to be heard.

  6. WESTHILL PRIDE says:

    The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
    Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love, 1963

    I am compelled to write to you to address the issue of Westhill High Schools forfeiture of four games as I understand it was Stamford High that brought the grievance to the CIAC. While I can’t contest the rules and agree that there was in fact an ineligible player on the team, it is necessary to bring to light some the overwhelming extenuating circumstances faced by the team, coaching staff and administration that by any measure would have devastated most men much less teen age boys.

    Are you aware that Westhill has experienced three tragic student deaths in the last eight months? Two of those deaths teammates of the Varsity team. The third a senior classmate on November 17th, 2012.

    You may have assumed the coaching and administrative staff at Westhill purposely allowed an ineligible player on the team to game their standings or that there was a careless disregard for the CIAC rules. In fact quite the opposite is true and to think otherwise is unconscionable. With such personal loss and devastation occurring this season in our school community the focus was on our players as teen boys and the student body as a whole. This is High School Football, not the NFL. Supporting our sons and school community through tragedy is immensely more important than scrutinizing every detail of every player.

    It is the support, leadership, compassion and teamwork of the coaching staff and the hard work and dedication of the boys that lead to the success the team experienced this year, and, to the 20-6 victory over Stamford High today -Thanksgiving Day – November 22nd; despite the heavy burden of personal loss the boys shouldered this season. In fact Friday – Black Friday for many of the boys is truly black as they will be attending one teammates memorial and their classmates wake and funeral.

    Our renewed Purple Pride – “Purple Pack” started last year and was the brainchild of one of the three fallen students. This season is a reflection of his legacy. It is the power of the human spirit in the face of adversity and the strength of true moral character that builds a man and a team. Our boys have learned a lifetime of lessons this season, more than many grown men ever learn. Every victory won by Westhill was won for the team and their fallen peers. To quote one player “They can take away the wins on paper, but they can’t take away the wins on the field.”

    WESTHILL and PROUD!!!!

    Anonymous

  7. Neil Spindel says:

    Today these kids showed what they are made of. Westhill is 6-4. Let the record books say whatever they will say. This is a winning team.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations to the Westhill Vikings on their first winnning season on the field since 1987 !! Tremendous accomplishment.

    Joe Heinzmann – What do you think of the three teams forfieting games in the past 14 months ?

    It is good to know that Mr. King has at least one supporter out there!!!

  9. Joe Heinzmann says:

    Anonymous posts calling for someone to be fired have no place in this comment section (or anywhere). King has done a great job with this athletic program and the girls hoop program. Westhill is fortunate to have him in both capacities.

  10. Dave Ruden says:

    I will be in Wilton for game with Trinity Catholic. It is the one for us that has the most riding on the outcome.

  11. Neil Spindel says:

    Anonymous, you’ll need to find me, because you’re…. well…. anonymous! I will be on the WHH sideline, I’m team photographer tomorrow. Canon camera, white lens. Dave, if you’re there please come shake my hand!

    Go Hill!

  12. Dave Ruden says:

    Believe me I’ve talked to a number of people and heard many stories and rumors. I think I know what happened, but regardless, anyone who thinks Westhill sat on this all season until now, that’s just crazy. Think it is time for everyone to enjoy the game tomorrow.

  13. anonymous says:

    Dave and Neil,

    Happy Thanksgiving to both of you as well and to all of Mr. Ruden’s followers here on this blog.

    The fact that information is not being shared with the GP (general public) is fair on this considering it’s embarassing to that student.

    If none of this is so negligible then why should they forfeit these games ? Where is the common sense ?

    It sounds to me like everyone wants it a certain way but nobody wants to share the information.

    Dave, I know you do a great job and I am NOT criticizing you but I am sure you are getting one side “off the record” and the problem is that I have here is what is the other side “off the record” which none of us know either.

    But again this is High School sports and rightfully so we must protect the student athletes.

    Neil, LET’S GO VIKINGS !! ( I will try and find you at the game tomorrow)

  14. Chris says:

    I know one AD thats smiling ear to ear right now. Hint hint

  15. Dave Ruden says:

    It is a lot more than just checking seniors. And there’s more to this story I’m unable to share unfortunately.

  16. br says:

    But is not hard to check the elegibility of 15-20 seniors. Many of them who have played since their Freshman Year. He needs to stand up and admit he dropped the ball.

  17. Neil Spindel says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to all, and here’s hoping for a Westhill High victory tomorrow. I don’t care what the official record books say, and the ripple effects with the state tournament aren’t really my concern. The message we parents are conveying to our kids is that they are winners and should be no less proud of what they achieved this year. A win tomorrow is a winning season on the field.

  18. Dave Ruden says:

    You are correct on the soccer Neil. It is kind of logistically impossible for administrators to babysit all of their athletes 24/7.

  19. Neil Spindel says:

    Good! I’m not saying Mike deserves a free pass, but we should know the facts before passing judgement. Three episodes in a bit over a year does seem problematic. However, my understanding of the soccer infraction was that a kid who was otherwise eligible to play was simultaneously playing in a non-scholastic league. If this is the case, I wouldn’t be so quick to point fingers at the AD as the source of the problem.

  20. Dave Ruden says:

    Gave up drinking Kool-Aid a long time ago. And as I’ve stated repeatedly — and I won’t engage in a debate with you Anonymous (though I do put my name to my writings) — the three incidents are an embarrassment to the school. But at what point do the kids involved take responsibility for their actions? They are instructed on the eligibility rules at the start of every preseason. Mike ultimately has to take responsibility for the athletic department because he is the head, but I think he’s a very good AD, and I work directly with him and have no reason to offer unconditional support. Show me a tangible sign of negligence on his part and I will admit I was wrong. Until then, I am officially off this going-round-in-circles debate. Happy Thanksgiving.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Neil,

    I will be reaching out to the Principal after the holidays sometime next week and asking her to meet face to face to discuss this situation “as a proud alumnus” and nothing more.

    Your comments are spot on. I am sure you are a proud father and should be of this team. I believe the Coach is a great person and a great Coach.

    My issue is that Mike King gets a “free pass” both from the Stamford “kewl aid drinking” Advocate and the Principal.

  22. Neil Spindel says:

    Actually, 501c3 recognition for the Touchdown Club may not have been achieved yet. It has been moving forward but I’m not sure that it’s complete yet.

  23. Neil Spindel says:

    Only the third paragraph of my post was directed at you. I didn’t mean to imply that you were speaking out against Marcucio. But you are pointing fingers at Mike King, and if you’re going to do so I think you should sign your name to it.

    However, there are others in this commentary who are pointing fingers at Frank, throwing around terms like ‘renegade’. Mr. Benson seems to be implying an awful lot, with questions like “Did anyone at Westhill keep tabs on the fundraising?” The fundraising is handled by the Touchdown Club, a 501c3 organization run by parents. Every dime is accounted for. I have the spreadsheet.

  24. Thecrusade says:

    @25 – Should of beat trinity?? What game were you watching? Can’t say should of won when the score was 28-10

  25. Anonymous says:

    Neil,

    Nobody is asking for Coach Marcucio to be fired NOBODY.

    Reread all my posts, they are asking for the AD to explain himself about a track record of lack of oversight on his athletic program.

    I couldn’t agree with you more about the job this Coach is doing and where the program is heading under his guidance.

    I think Neil if you reread my comments you will see that the AD has not done his job and for that and his oversights with 3 episodeds in the last 14 months, he should come out and explain himself. Don’t you agree ?

    p.s. I am not giving up my name but know this: I am an alumnus of the school and don’t have any kids attending there now.

  26. Neil Spindel says:

    As a parent of one of the boys on the team, the forfeiture of these wins is heartbreaking. That said, I have gotten to know Coach Marcucio, and the reversal of attitude and morale that he has brought to these kids in just one season has been incredible. These kids have known nothing but heartbreak from this football program, and Frank has given them the ability to be proud of what they are doing. Nothing about what has transpired here can take away what happened on the field this year, these kids are winners.

    To suggest that he somehow knowingly allowed an ineligble kid to play is an insult to this man. First of all, Westhill self-reported the infraction. You’re suggesting that they knowingly allowed the kid to play, and then self-reported the infraction 9 games into the season. These kids have been playing their hearts out week after week, and to even imply that they or there coach were knowingly cheating is just a shameful thing to say.

    And I think it’s also pretty shameful that someone is chest pounding in these comments to have a man fired, and yet is hiding behind a name like ‘Anonymous’. If you feel so strongly about your convictions, sign your name to your comments.

  27. Dave Ruden says:

    Not sensitive at all. And not sure what analysis piece you are expecting. Thankfully I have moved on back to what I would rather be doing: covering games.

  28. jeb says:

    Was it Ridgefield that blew the whistle on Westhill?

  29. Anonymous says:

    Dave,

    A tad bit sensitive in your last comment. Nobody is suggesting anything. I just hope the reporting on this is conistent like your reporting always is. You are getting way too defensive and we haven’t even seen your “analsyis” piece on this in the paper yet !!

    As for the Stamford student, I could’t agree with you more!! Well said !!

    Prediction: Nothing will happen to anybody…..after all we are talking about High School sports which has turned into a grander stage of Little League, right Dave?

  30. stamford student says:

    to answer “crasains” question( attempt to hint at something) from my sources( reliable and many) as a student in the stamford community,it is believed someone from stamford high knew of the player in questions “history” . so yes you are right “craisains” the timing is fishy.

    also last year when WHS forfeited a game because the ineligible player had transferred from crosby
    A) he had a cousin on the team. so he wasnt some mystery kid B) the coach knew he had transferred but its the athletic directors responsibility to remind the coaches and check.

    summary: fire Mike King… and btw enough with the Trinity sympathy. they blew that Darien game and let St. Joes run over them.

  31. Vikings Fan says:

    Anonymous,

    As a long-time Vikings supporter I am saddened by this whole thing and really feel for the kids involved. But just to point out that the current coach is not Knute Rockne reincarnated I am pretty sure that the previous coach, who unfortunately could not sustain it, had the Vikings on the cusp of winning seasons in both 2006 and 2007, going 5-5 both years. Just saying.

  32. Dave Ruden says:

    So now Anonymous you are an expert in journalism too? Maybe you will offer me consultations before I write future stories so I get it right.

  33. Br says:

    Both the principal and the AD need to address the parents of Westhill High School and apologize for this incident and tell what measures have been taken to ensure that this does not happen again.

  34. Ben benson says:

    Anonymous am I reading this correctly? Did you make mention of respect and credibility in a blog about the Westhill football program? I hate to break it to you but currently your coach, team and school are the least respected and of the lowest credibility. Kid didn’t play against Wilton because of other issues? Nobody was aware of the eligibility issue until Thanksgiving? Come on something stinks!

  35. Anonymous says:

    King declined to discuss the latest infraction. “We don’t comment on disciplinary actions for students,” King said.

    No Mike: Where did you fail as the Athletic Director and what are you going to do as the Director of Athletics to prevent the 4th episode from happening.

    Mr. King should comment on his own lack of oversight or where he went wrong. To just issue a “no comment” or “we don’t comment on students,” smacks of GUTLESS !!!

    Sometimes in journalism we gotta be tough (but fair). I think you will get the story right here Dave in your analysis.

  36. Dave Ruden says:

    If you read my story, I spoke to Mike and he declined comment.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Dave,

    As I mentioned in my prior comments, I don’t think this is something that just gets brushed aside as we blame them (the AD’s) on having to teach 3 classes every day. Like I said Moriarty knew when he took over as AD that that job was big enough to give up the Coaching gig. I say to Mr. King: go ahead and Coach and give up your AD gig. This lates mishap is an unacceptable error. I doubt very very highly this NEW Coach knew anything about this ineligible player. This one is clearly on your shoulders and you need to take responsibility for this latest athletic depart error.

    As for the comments made about the Westhill Coach, I believe they are unwarranted and uncalled for. The man has brought tremendous respect and credibility to a program that hasn’t sniffed this type of success since 1987.

    Dave, please consider asking the tough questions of both the AD and the Principal. Thank you sir.

  38. Br says:

    Dave,

    Did you get a quote from the Principal? Would love to hear what she thinks?

  39. Ben benson says:

    Sorry Dave but the 5 year rule is cut and dry. Who told you otherwise, the individuals who failed to follow it? I would also disagree with your statements concerning the current status of Westhill Athletics. I believe the majority of Stamford citizens and CIAC member schools would say it is a mess. After being fired Coach Frank was under pressure to win. When the stakes go up people of low moral fiber break the rules. Mike King is incapable of running a athletic program never mind supervising a renegade like Marcucio. Did anyone at Westhill keep tabs on the fundraising? Anyone google Marcucio’s history before hiring him? If you did none of this would be a surprise.

  40. Br says:

    It does not long to verify the eligibility of 15 seniors. As far as the schools that did not get in the states. I am sure you can look at games they should won, but loss (Trinity).

  41. jeb says:

    The Westhill AD has a guardian angel in the Westhill administration.

  42. Dave Ruden says:

    No disagreement that the school has to look inward about what can be done better. It is debatable whether an athletic director should or shouldn’t be allowed to coach. But how about this: how many other athletic directors besides Mike and Jim Moriarty have to also teach 3 classes? With the new rotating schedules, wait until the spring when you are looking at canceling games early afternoon when it is raining and they are in the middle of teaching.

  43. Anonymous says:

    Dave,

    You are a respectful and dignified reporter who this alumnus respects. I also respect your opinion you just had in number 21.

    Here is a question if you can ask Mike King “You have had 3 eligibility issues in the past 14 months and all in boys sports. What steps are you going to take to make sure this doesn’t happen again, and secondly are you distracted from doing your job fully as AD since you are also the Girl’s hoops coach ? ”

    If you take a poll of Westhill people I am sure they are not too happy about this latest issue that has come to light.

  44. Dave Ruden says:

    The three incidents are a definite blight. The school has to discuss what it can do better that isn’t currently being done. But in terms of overall success, I don’t see a big difference between May 2011 and November 2012. School at the very least is competitive in most sports.

  45. Anonymous says:

    Dave,

    Would you still say that after the repeatedly eligibility issues that have plagued the school and the negative publicity that will follow it ?

    I for one TOTALLY DISAGREE with you about it being the strongest. It may have been back in May 2011 but with what has happened in the past year I would absolutely say that you have too much purple and gold kool aid in your system !!!

    Respectfully

  46. Dave Ruden says:

    I can only talk about the time since I joined The Advocate in 1992. There was a defeatist culture that permeated the entire school. Across the board, and not isolating specific sports, the sports program at Westhill right now is stronger that at any time since I’ve covered it.

  47. Anonymous says:

    Dave,

    “The sports program has come light years under the current administration from what it used to be”.

    The boys basketball team in the late 80′s was a dynasty ! Where is that program now ?

    The baseball and softball programs,especially softball is vastly improved somewhat but that is because of the strong Coach in place (Tom Pia, who devotes hours to those girls in the offseason).

    The football team, with the hiring of Coach Marcucio is going in the right direction but with this “stain” it doesn’t help.

    The hockey team hasn’t won anything significant. I think the Coaches may be a tad better in recent years (boys hoops aside).

    I think and again I am allowed this opinion based on 3 violations in the past 14 months. But I think Mr. King should give up the AD position as a result and continue on as just the Girl’s hoop Coach at which the results have been a whole lot better than the overall state of his athletic program.

    Dave, I know you do a fair job and I am sure Mr. King is respectful etc. but there must be better controls and more hands on over there at that school in regards to eligibility. Imagine if the football team were 7-2 and fighting for a spot in the state playoffs ???

    unacceptable for this to happen 3 times. period. Besides he’s been the Athletic Director for a long time. Sometimes a new guy/gal might do a better job.

    Thank you.

  48. Dave Ruden says:

    She’s not. She’s been a big positive for sports too. This is a case where everyone wants to find convenient blame. It is not always clear cut.

  49. Br says:

    The principal maybe part of the problem. The AD reports to her.

  50. Dave Ruden says:

    I’m writing a column now though looking at it more from the players’ viewpoint. I have two opinions: One, the school can go over and over about eligibility rules with the kids, which I have no reason to doubt they do. But you cannot babysit every kid. The administration can’t be roaming West Beach on a Sunday to make sure a soccer player isn’t taking part in an unsanctioned game. At the same time, with three violations in 14 months, the school has to take a look at what it can do better. The sports program has come light years under the current administration from what it used to be. As someone who has covered the city for 20 years, trust me on that. I really believe Mike is a good AD. I’ve worked with him closely and I have no reason to unconditionally back him. But these recurrences hurt the school’s reputation.

  51. Anonymous says:

    Dave,

    OK Fair enough. And I can understand their being irate over this. But Westhill’s fan base and Principal should be irate as to why this has happened yet again in the Westhill’s Athletic Department.

  52. Dave Ruden says:

    I was referring to Trinity being irate if this costs it a playoff berth.

  53. Anonymous says:

    Dave, “Don’t think they are not thinking about this” . Who is they ?

    SOMEONE IN THE Westhill Administration, perhaps your beloved Athletic Director should take the heat not just for this episode but the 3 episodes on 3 different teams all within the past two years ???

    At some point, responsibility MUST rest with an ADULT and in this case the adult is Mr. King the Athletic Director !!

    As a Westhill alumnus and “purple pride” etc, 3 strikes and it should be bye bye !!

    King should at least be grilled by you Dave as to why this happened and what he thinks of 3 eligibility issues all within a couple of years.

    Thank you.

  54. Dave Ruden says:

    Don’t think they are not thinking about this.

  55. craisins says:

    As Dave Ruden reports, Coach Marcucio is in no way at fault. He would not compromise his team and knowingly put his team at risk.

    No need to look back at the root of this individual problem. But three violations in 14 mmonths is a concern.

    As far as 5th year seniors, from the CIAC handbook…

    “That is, there is no fifth year of eligibility per se. (2) Once a student has attended 15 days or more, may apply through the member school for consideration of a hardship waiver. Hardship waiver requests will be considered for unforeseen, unavoidable or unusual circumstances that were beyond the control of the student and resulted in the student being unable to complete their academic requirements in four (4) years or eight (8) consecutive semesters. All such requests must be well documented. Waivers for serious medical
    situations that are well documented will also be considered when it is demonstrated the student was unable to complete any significant school work due to their medical condition and it is verified the school made every effort to provide an appropriate alternative program to the student. Injuries sustained in playing a CIAC sponsored
    sport will not constitute grounds for a medical waiver for an additional semester/year of play in the sport in which the injury occurred.”

  56. fciac fan says:

    Hope this doesn’t cost t.c.

  57. Dave Ruden says:

    There are provisions for some fifth-year seniors to play. I can’t really go into details but this is no way as cut and dry as everyone wants to make it. I am not apologizing for anyone but it is a little complex.

  58. Zoo says:

    A FIFTH year senior–was that not a clue?

  59. Dave Ruden says:

    Apologetic? I suggest you re-read story. Balanced reporting. Not supposed to offer an opinion.

  60. Adults? says:

    Lack of institutional control at Westhill HS. Obviously, the coverage is apologetic. Adults screwed up, again.

  61. craisins says:

    Perhaps. My questions were not random. Lets leave it at that.

  62. Lou Lange says:

    My heart breaks for WHS, but you have to give them credit for “self-reporting” the violation.

  63. Dave Ruden says:

    I’m not at liberty to go into details other than to tell you Westhill was completely unaware of what happened and the way it learned about it was from someone helping them out. The school self-reported as soon as it was made aware of and investigated the situation. No one “ratted them out.”

  64. craisins says:

    How did the school learn of the violation?

    Lets assume that the player was on the roster all season. A violation is a violation and the penalties are warranted. But was there a motive behind reporting and the timing? Who reported it to the school and when did they initially learn of the violation?

    As for the WHS. They have been and will always be winners; regardless of W-L records. That applies to any high school athlete. Save the hyper focus on W/L and championships for college and the pros.

    This team and those around them have endured extreme adversity on many fronts. They all are better people and move forward with strength of character. Unlike the person(s) that may have reported this violation for their own gain.