Tahlequah Sequoyah out of playoffs, forfeits all nine wins
BY MIKE BROWN World Sports Writer
Sunday, November 04, 2012
11/04/12 at 4:46 AM
Tahlequah Sequoyah forfeits not only its spot in the Class 3A football playoffs but all nine regular-season victories, the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association said Saturday.
The OSSAA issued a revised 3A postseason bracket without including the Indians, who went undefeated through District 3A-7.
OSSAA executive secretary Ed Sheakley sent an email to the school outlining the decision.
"We have finished our investigation and it is clear to us that (Sequoyah) had student-athletes who violated our rules," Sheakley said.
He said Sequoyah's own records showed that 12 players attended individual summer camps paid for by outside sources, forbidden by OSSAA Rule 10 - D-2c. He also said that participation violates a rule against offering inducements encouraging student-athletes to attend or remain at a given school.
Sequoyah officials acknowledged violations by eight players on Oct. 22, saying the athletes were ineligible for the final two regular-season games, and a Nov. 7 appeal hearing was scheduled before the OSSAA's Board of Directors.
But those eight and a subsequent four found in violation received a judge's temporary restraining order allowing them to play in an Oct. 26 win at Hilldale to clinch the District 3A-7 title and Friday's 63-40 win over Lincoln Christian.
Sheakley said using suspended athletes was, by definition, "illegal," and since the athletes had played in all nine games, Sequoyah would have to forfeit all nine.
Reacting Saturday, Sequoyah athletic director Marcus Crittenden stressed again his belief that the athletes in question - including standout quarterback Brayden Scott and receivers Niko Hammer and Kyle and Ryan Helsley - hadn't knowingly violated rules and were being punished for others' sins.
"We're very saddened for the kids," Crittenden said. "They did not do anything wrong. It's the adults in this situation from a previous administration that should have known better.
"We're supporting our guys and doing everything we can to make sure that these mistakes don't happen again at Sequoyah. We're focused on compliance, we're focused on getting it right and we've focused on helping our students," Crittenden said.
It was unclear whether Sequoyah would attempt a further appeal to the OSSAA Board. As to whether further legal actions might come on behalf of the students, Crittenden said, "I don't think we can speculate on that."
Sheakley said he hoped the issue was resolved.
"We hope they're a good member school and they're going to abide by the investigation. They've admitted to the findings," he said.
In the revised pairings, Hilldale takes Sequoyah's place as District 3A-7 champion, hosting Checotah in the first round.
Jay becomes the fourth team from 3A-7 in postseason play, joining Hilldale, Keys and Lincoln Christian.
Original Print Headline: Sequoyah out of playoffs
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