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West Charlotte High forfeits 2021 football games over an ineligible player

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West Charlotte High will forfeit all of its football games from the past season over an ineligible player. The school self-reported to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association after becoming aware of a player who was potentially ineligible. The association ruled the school would also have to pay a fine and return any money earned from its home playoff game last season.

"West Charlotte High School was made aware of a student-athlete who was ineligible for the 2021-2022 football season," Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools said in a statement. "West Charlotte High School administrators investigated this matter and determined it was true based on the residence requirements and in response voluntarily reported the violation to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA). Following an investigation, The NCHSAA Commissioner ruled that West Charlotte was in violation for using an ineligible player-residence requirement. In accordance with today's ruling West Charlotte will forfeit all 2021-2022 football games, return any monies earned from playoff games, and pay a $250 fine."

Myers Park High had a similar ruling against it last month for ineligible players. Principal Robert Folk said 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.

Folk 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."

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Woody is a Charlotte native who came to WFAE from the world of NASCAR where he was host of NASCAR Today for MRN Radio as well as a pit reporter, turn announcer and host of the NASCAR Live pre race show for Cup Series races. Before that, he was a news anchor at WBT radio in Charlotte, a traffic reporter, editor of The Charlotte Observer’s University City Magazine, News/Sports Director at WEGO-AM in Concord and a Swiss Army knife in local cable television. His first job after graduating from Appalachian State University was news reporter at The Daily Independent in Kannapolis. Along the way he’s covered everything from murder trials and a national political convention to high school sports and minor league baseball.
Sarah Delia covers criminal justice and the arts for WFAE. Sarah joined the WFAE news team in 2014. An Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist, Sarah has lived and told stories from Maine, New York, Indiana, Alabama, Virginia and North Carolina. Sarah received her B.A. in English and Art history from James Madison University, where she began her broadcast career at college radio station WXJM. Sarah has interned and worked at NPR in Washington DC, interned and freelanced for WNYC, and attended the Salt Institute for Radio Documentary Studies.