Northwestern has forfeited a second game this season for using an ineligible player, and Coach Bryan Pierre has been suspended a game for misleading Prince George’s County athletic authorities during an initial investigation into the ineligible player.
Earl Hawkins, Prince George’s County athletic director, confirmed in a telephone interview Tuesday that Northwestern has forfeited its Sept. 7 win against DuVal due to the use of an ineligible player.News of the forfeit was first reported by The Gazette.
Pierre, who did not immediately respond to a call to his cell phone or a text message seeking comment, served his suspension this past weekend during Northwestern’s 42-14 win at Laurel. Northwestern Athletic Director Terri Dendy also did not return calls left Tuesday seeking comment. Hawkins said he did not anticipate any further disciplinary action being taken against Pierre or Northwestern.
As a result of Northwestern’s latest forfeit, the Wildcats now stand at 4-3 on the season and are in jeopardy of missing the Prince George’s 4A South region playoffs, in which they have not competed since 2003. With the loss to Northwestern removed from its record, DuVal (7-0) sits in first place in the 4A South and is in prime position to earn its first playoff berth since 2007.
The county announced Oct. 1 that Northwestern would forfeit its first game of the season — a 30-0 win Aug. 31 at Wheaton — after a three-week investigation discovered a player residency violation. The player in question is a sophomore cornerback who played last season at High Point in Beltsville before transferring to Northwestern, which is in Hyattsville. He used a false address to enroll at Northwestern.
While Northwestern acknowledged the player participated in the Wheaton contest, school officials told the county the player had not competed against DuVal, which the Wildcats defeated, 28-10, on Sept. 7.
“Northwestern said its video did not have the kid playing, and the coach wasn’t positive he had played, didn’t think he had,” Hawkins said.
According to multiple sources with intimate knowledge of the situation, who declined to be named due to the subject’s sensitivity, Northwestern originally informed the county that it had come to an agreement with DuVal that the player in question did not compete during the Sept. 7 contest. However, such an agreement never was in place.
When DuVal learned of the county’s initial ruling — that Northwestern had to forfeit only the Wheaton game — DuVal officials reviewed the game tape, saw that the player in question had participated in a few plays Sept. 7 and inquired why Northwestern did not have to forfeit its contest against the Tigers, as well.
County officials, according to sources, told DuVal about the supposed agreement with Northwestern and said that because they believed that agreement to be in place, they had not reviewed the game film themselves.
Hawkins said the latest development in this matter transpired last week, when he was on leave, and that his assistant, O’Shay Watson, had handled the matter and reviewed the newly-provided game film. Watson did not immediately return a call left Tuesday seeking comment.
“When it came up, as far as the self-investigation type thing, we just wanted to know who the kid was and if he played,” DuVal Coach Dameon Powell said. “When we came to find out that the kid played, the county took care of everything else.”