PENDER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - The Topsail High School girls basketball team is in the process of appealing a decision by the NCHSAA that mandates they forfeit 10 victories and face fines after reporting a potential eligibility violation.
A press release from the district says the high school self reported the potential violation to the state high school athletic association after an ineligible student athlete was on the roster for the 2020 season. The player dressed for 14 games, ten of which were victories.
The athlete in question previously attended Topsail High School before leaving to attend school in another district. In the fall of 2019, she returned to Topsail High School and requested to be re-enrolled.
“Documentation provided by the family to Topsail High School for re-enrollment verification showed that the student’s previous address had changed and she was now residing outside of Pender County. Due to miscommunication and an inaccuracy during the data entry process while updating the student’s file, an address inside Pender County was entered. When athletic department officials reviewed the student’s file, it showed that she was at a Pender County address and in good academic standing, making it appear that she was eligible to play,” a press release from Pender County Schools clarified.
After reviewing the case, the NCHSAA has determined that those ten victories are to be forfeited. This decision gives the Pirates a 4-18 overall record and 3-9 mark in the Mideastern Conference.
The school was also fined for the violation; because the incident was self- reported, the initial $500 fine was reduced to $250.
While the district is in the process of appealing the decision, regardless of the outcome of the appeal, the Pirates are still eligible to make the NCHSAA 3A playoffs, pending their record at the conclusion of the season.
“Topsail High School officials deeply regret this unfortunate incident and the fact it has nullified the on-court success of our student-athletes who worked tirelessly to excel this winter. Safeguards for a more strenuous review at the interview and enrollment processing point of non-traditional enrollees are being developed and will be implemented across the district to prevent such occurrences going forward,” a statement from the school district said.