Tahlequah Sequoyah seems like it won't fight OSSAA findings
BY MIKE BROWN World Sports Writer
Monday, November 05, 2012
Tahlequah Sequoyah apparently isn’t going to fight an Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association finding that forces the school to vacate nine regular-season football wins and a spot in the Class 3A playoffs.
Sequoyah officials emailed forfeiture notifications to the nine schools in question, athletic director Marcus Crittenden said Monday.
Crittenden said the Indians are moving forward with efforts to restore eligibility in other sports for 12 football players found in violation of an OSSAA governing participation in individual summer camps.
“We are focused on getting these gentlemen reinstated as quickly as possible,” Crittenden told the Tulsa World. “We are holding hope that the association will treat our boys kindly and hold them minimally accountable when you consider this was not their fault.”
The athletes have been ineligible since the school announced the OSSAA’s findings on Oct. 22, but received a temporary restraining order that allowed them to play in the final two regular-season games.
Under OSSAA rules, an athlete is ineligible until reinstated by the assocation’s Board of Directors. A 1:30 p.m. Wednesday hearing is scheduled before the board.
OSSAA executive director Ed Sheakley acknowledged Monday that he had received notification of the forfeiture letters being sent.
Sequoyah finished 9-1, with wins over Okemah, Beggs and Sperry in nondistrict play and Hilldale, Lincoln Christian, Keys, Jay, Westville and Locust Grove in District 3A-7 play.
On Saturday, the OSSAA issued 3A playoff pairings that did not include the Indians. Sheakley said an investigation into the alleged camp violations had concluded, and that Sequoyah’s own records showed the 12 athletes had attended camps paid for by the school or other outside sources, forbidden by OSSAA rules.
Crittenden and other school officials contend that the athletes did nothing knowingly wrong and are having to pay for the mistakes of previous school and tribal administrators. The school is administered by the Cherokee Nation.
”It’s pretty unfair,” said Tim Baker, an attorney for four players. “When a kid’s told to go to camp, you don’t suspect your coach or administrator is putting you in a position where your eligibility could be questioned.”