Ballou files appeal with DCPS to take Dunbar's place in Turkey Bowl

By Alan Goldenbach
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ballou has appealed D.C. Public Schools' decision to remove the Knights from the D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association championship game for using an ineligible player in the DCIAA semifinals on Nov. 13.

Ballou Coach Moe Ware said his school filed its appeal Monday with the DCPS Office of the General Counsel. Ware expects to have a hearing Tuesday at 1 p.m. He said his team is practicing this week with the hope the Knights will be able to face H.D. Woodson in Thursday's Turkey Bowl, scheduled for 11 a.m. at Eastern High.

If the appeal is denied, Dunbar will meet the Warriors in Ballou's place.

DCPS announced Friday that an investigation by the DCPS offices of the General Counsel and School Security found Ballou had used an ineligible player in its 35-31 semifinal victory over the Crimson Tide on Nov. 13. The investigation revealed that a Ballou player had a grade changed improperly, according to an e-mail from DCPS acting chancellor Kaya Henderson.

Dunbar filed a protest last week.

"It is our intention to complete the appeal process before Turkey Bowl is played," Henderson wrote in the e-mail.

Ware said Ballou's appeal contends that DCPS did not adhere to protocol. DCPS Athletic Director Marcus Ellis, in a departure from past football seasons, requested that all four playoff teams submit their players' grades from the marking period, which ended on Oct. 28. Any student deemed ineligible at that point, Ellis said, would not be allowed to play in the postseason.

Ware, however, pointed to Rule 2704.18 of Title 5 of the D.C. Municipal Register, which states, "The Director of Athletics may challenge the eligibility of individual players at any time but in no event shall such challenge occur later than mid-season of the sports season involved."

Additionally, Ware said Ballou plans to challenge Rule 2702.5, which requires, in the event a protest is entered, that, "all available information shall be submitted in writing by the principal of the protesting school to the Supervising Director of Athletics and to the principal of the opposing school by the close of business of the following school day."

At a luncheon Monday at Verizon Center for the two presumptive Turkey Bowl participants - H.D. Woodson and Dunbar - Crimson Tide Coach Craig Jefferies was blunt about how his team earned its Turkey Bowl berth.

"There's a white elephant in the room," Jefferies said. "There's no secret about how we got to this game. We are not ashamed about it. We always get a black eye when something like this happens, but we have to do what's right."

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