Myers Park High principal says self reporting to the NCHSAA was 'the right thing to do'
It didn’t take long for new Myers Park Principal Robert Folk to find a problem with big consequences. January was his first month on the job. It’s also when he says a parent shared information that led him to question some enrollment and eligibility criteria on the varsity football team. He alerted the district and conducted an investigation.
"And I determined that a parent/guardian had provided false information regarding enrollment in school and eligibility for fall football," Folk said.
Folk says students need to have two documents that show proof of residency (that proves their custodial parent has an address within the bounds of Myers Park High eligibility), like a rental agreement and utility bill. He wouldn’t reveal specifics of the problems he found in the documents or the number of football players involved.
But, he reported his findings to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association. The organization rejected the school’s appeal of its ruling: A forfeit of all games from last season, a return of $6,700 in playoff revenue, plus a $250 fine.
"I feel badly for the athletes that played their hearts out. So I don’t think it’s fair to the athletes. Leading with integrity I feel is important for all of us and I felt like self-reporting this was the right thing to do," Folk said. "If we are punished for that then so be it, because I still feel like it's the right thing to do. And we will accept that punishment."
Whether it’s one player or many involved, Folks notes the result is the same for every player on last year's state playoff team. It never happened, at least not officially.
"Their record on paper will be wiped out but I told them that the record in their hearts and the work they did and the growth they achieved will be with them forever," Folk said.
That’s what he hopes students will remember.