Broadneck High School will not have to forfeit the 13 victories and county and regional football titles it earned last fall after a state appeals board yesterday reversed the punishment that had been levied by an Anne Arundel County Board of Education committee.

The county committee had ruled that Broadneck had used an ineligible player last season, but the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association's appeals board yesterday ruled unanimously that no penalties will be assessed to the school and the student.

"It's a huge relief," Broadneck Coach Jeff Herrick said.

Broadneck reported what it thought was a violation last month, when Herrick discovered that one of his players did not seem to be living with his legal guardians. Students in Anne Arundel County have to live with a parent or legal guardian in a particular school's enrollment district to be eligible for athletics at that school.

But as Broadneck Athletic Director Ken Kazmarek and Principal Lucinda Hudson told the appeals board yesterday, school officials later learned the student had been splitting time with his step-father, his legal guardian who lives in the Broadneck district, his mother, who moved outside the Broadneck district, and a teammate's family.

"The unfortunate thing was this was such a complex family issue that we were incapable of finding out the depth of it to provide [the county] board," Kazmarek said. "Once we started getting the facts in, we were looking around at each other and thought, 'This wasn't a violation.' "

"It was relatively obvious there was no intent to hide the kid," said Laurel Athletic Director Terry Parfitt, who is on the MPSSAA appeals committee. "He wasn't doing it for athletic reasons. It was a custody thing."

The state appeals board told Broadneck officials that it would make a decision within 24 hours, but approximately 30 minutes after the Bruins presented their case, a decision had been made.

"I can't tell you how pleased I am," Kazmarek said. "There's a great sense of vindication, but we felt all along we had a compelling case."