AAA Patriot District boys

T.C. Williams boys basketball forfeits all of its victories for using two ineligible players

By B.J. Koubaroulis
Tuesday, February 2, 2010

T.C. Williams athletic director Bob McKeag acknowledged Tuesday that mistakes were made in processing transcripts for Billy Rowland and Darrius Porter, the two basketball players who were discovered to be ineligible on Monday, forcing the Titans to forfeit all 12 of their victories.

T.C. discovered Monday that Rowland and Porter were playing a fifth year of high school sports, a violation of Virginia High School League and national federation rules. The two players are no longer with the Titans.

McKeag said he received a phone call from Lake Braddock athletic director Mark Martino on Monday. Martino told McKeag that he received an anonymous call claiming that Rowland was in his fifth year and should not be playing basketball at T.C. Williams, the three-time AAA Northern Region champions.

McKeag said that he immediately pulled Rowland's records and discovered that the 6-foot-6 forward spent two years at Surrattsville and was reclassified as a sophomore when he transferred to Bishop Ireton in 2007. Private schools can reclassify students into grade levels, regardless of their age.

When Rowland transferred to the Alexandria school last year, that should have been his final year of public school eligibility. McKeag said that after discovering that Rowland was in his fifth year, he then ran a check on all of the seniors in the basketball program and found that Porter, a guard, was also in his fifth year.

"I am a basketball guy," McKeag said. "I love the game, I coached the game, but I'm also very straight forward about following the rules. This came as a shock to me and it's embarrassing and we're going to own up to it."

The forfeits dropped the Titans, who began the week ranked No. 11 by The Post, from 12-3 to 0-15.

When former All-Met Coach of the Year Ivan Thomas left the program in 2008 to move to southern Virginia, there was a lot of turnover in the athletic department at T.C. Williams. Around the same time that Thomas left T.C. Williams, former athletic director Kerry Donley stepped down. McKeag was hired before the 2008-2009 school year.

Rowland and Porter transferred to T.C. Williams during that transition period in the athletic department, according to McKeag.

McKeag is still searching for facts on Rowland, dates and when he actually registered at T.C. Williams. McKeag said he has calls in to coaches and administrators at Bishop Ireton -- a private school that is located less than three miles from T.C. Williams.

McKeag said that he will report the program to the VHSL today and that he anticipates the VHSL to confirm what he already knows, that the program will forfeit all victories in which Rowland and Porter played. McKeag informed T.C. Williams basketball coach Julian King of the results of the investigation on Monday before practice and King informed the team shortly thereafter.

"It broke my heart today to have to tell the kids that the season is basically down the drain," King said.

King said he was placing calls to Thomas and Donley on Tuesday.

Thomas is now the head coach at Kecoughtan in southern Virginia. King was an assistant under Thomas when the program won the Virginia AAA state title in 2008. That title broke a nearly three-decade state title drought for Northern Region teams. Since then, King has buoyed the program, posting a 39-6 overall record. Friday's 55-52 victory over W.T. Woodson kept the Titans' conference winning streak alive at 80. That streak, which was believed to be the area's longest conference winning streak, is now over.

"It should have been caught and it wasn't and as the principal and the athletic director, it's on us," T.C. Williams Principal Bill Clendaniel said.

Clendaniel, who announced his retirement yesterday, will remain principal until the end of the school year and has expressed support for both King and McKeag.

"We do have a history of following the rules and it does sicken me when something like this happens," Clendaniel said.

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