Defending Maryland 1A state football champion Oakland Mills was forced to forfeit all five of its victories this season after discovering and reporting an eligibility violation yesterday.
Don Disney, Howard County's coordinator of athletics, confirmed that Oakland Mills principal Marshall Peterson and Ken Klock, the school's athletic director, reported the infraction to him and the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association.
Efforts to reach Oakland Mills have been unsuccessful.
Disney said that an anonymous tip was given to the school saying that a member of the varsity football team did not reside in the Oakland Mills school district or Howard County.
In addition, a school investigation determined that the child's parents "falsified documents that indicated residence in the Oakland Mills High School attendance district . . . [he] didn't live at the address indicated on registration forms and lives outside of Howard County."
The MPSSAA made the Scorpions, who were 5-2 overall and 4-2 in the Howard County league, forfeit all their victories because the player participated in each game. Sources said the player in question was a freshman and "an impact player."
Disney stressed that this ruling won't affect the Scorpions' 1998 state title.
"As far as we're concerned, the matter is finished," Disney said. "It's unfortunate, we'll move on from here."
MPSSAA Executive Director Ned Sparks said he was pleased that the school administration came forward on its own to report the infraction.
"They are to be commended for their forthrightness in this thing," Sparks said. "It's a shame that people can lose sight of their values and hurt other people."
Oakland Mills began the season with four consecutive victories, topping Elkton, Glenelg, River Hill and Atholton.
The Scorpions then fell to Howard before beating Mount Hebron and losing to Wilde Lake last weekend.
The Scorpions were in the thick of the playoff race and appeared to have a good chance to again make the postseason.
Now, with their opponents' losses turning to wins, the forfeits will have a trickle-down effect in the playoff picture, which is based on power points. Points are awarded for wins over schools based on enrollment. As a 1A school, Oakland Mills's forfeits will give opponents five added power points.
The schools also could get more points if Oakland Mills wins any of its final three games. Victories over 2A (six points), 3A (seven) and 4A (eight) schools all have differing point values. Schools such as Glenelg and River Hill, both fighting for playoff spots, have losses to Oakland Mills that will turn to wins, gaining them five points each.
Oakland Mills has home games remaining with Long Reach (3A) Saturday and 2A Hammond on Oct. 30, before finishing on the road at 2A Centennial.