The Northwestern football team will forfeit its first victory of the season after a three-week Prince George’s County Public Schools investigation discovered a player residency violation, according to the county’s athletic director, Earl Hawkins. With the forfeit, the Wildcats’ record drops to 3-2.
The player in question is a sophomore cornerback who played last season at High Point in Beltsville before transferring to Northwestern, which is in Hyattsville. He used a false address to enroll at Northwestern, according to Hawkins.
The player was in uniform for the Wildcats’ first two games of the season, a 30-0 win at Wheaton and a 28-10 victory over DuVal, according to a Northwestern source with knowledge of the situation who asked not to be identified due to the sensitive nature of the issue. However, the source said, the player got on the field in only the Wheaton contest.
A team must forfeit all games in which a player found to be ineligible participated, per state guidelines. A player must reside in a high school’s designated zone within Prince George’s County in order to be eligible to compete in athletics at said high school.
Northwestern Coach Bryan Pierre said in a telephone interview Monday morning that he had yet to hear from Hawkins and that he remained unclear as to the specific allegations at hand. Attempts to reach Pierre later in the day were not immediately successful.
Terri Dendy, the Northwestern athletic director, did not return a message left on her cell phone Monday morning seeking comment.
The county began its investigation following the DuVal game on Sept. 7. The Northwestern source said the county immediately instructed the player — who had been attending classes at Northwestern — to return to High Point. He is not currently playing for the Eagles, according to High Point Coach Andre Brown.
The forfeit could affect the Wildcats’ postseason hopes. Prior to the forfeit, Northwestern was 4-1 and held a slim power-point advantage over Eleanor Roosevelt (4-1) for fourth place in the competitive Maryland 4A South region standings. The top four teams advance to the playoffs.