DCPS: Ballou is ineligible for final

Dunbar Coach Craig Jefferies: "I'm excited for the kids and our program."
Dunbar Coach Craig Jefferies: "I'm excited for the kids and our program." (Joel Richardson For)

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By Alan Goldenbach
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 20, 2010

Dunbar is in Thursday's Turkey Bowl, Ballou is out following a D.C. Public Schools investigation announced Friday night. In a statement, DCPS said Ballou will forfeit its place in Thursday's D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association championship game after DCPS found the Knights used an academically ineligible player in last weekend's semifinal victory over Dunbar.

The Crimson Tide, which filed a protest this week that prompted the investigation, will now face H.D. Woodson in Thursday's Turkey Bowl at Eastern High, scheduled for 11 a.m.

According to a release issued by DCPS at 7:40 p.m. Friday, "By law, a school must forfeit any game in which an ineligible player participates." DCPS Athletic Director Marcus Ellis declined further comment.

Ballou Coach Moe Ware said his school plans to file an appeal to the DCPS General Counsel on Monday, which Ellis said is allowed under the circumstances.

"I'm going to fight it as much as I can," Ware said. "Right now, I'm just lost."

The investigation centered around the grades of one player whose first marking period grades were submitted after the Nov. 10 deadline imposed by Ellis on the DCIAA's four playoff teams. The player's grades were filed two days later, according to Ware, who said he was given an extension by Ellis to submit them.

Ballou defeated Dunbar the following day, 35-31, in the DCIAA semifinals. H.D. Woodson advanced with a 14-2 win over Coolidge in the second semifinal.

Dunbar Coach Craig Jefferies said he feels vindicated because he filed his full roster's grades by the deadline.

"I'm happy right now," Jefferies said. "I'm excited for the kids and our program. When you try to do everything right and play by the rules, it feels good."

Dunbar has been practicing this week as the investigation continued.

goldenbacha@washpost.com


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