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SALT LAKE CITY — After an appeal and silent protest from East High students, players and parents, the Utah High School Activities Association have ruled to allow the Leopards to participate in the playoffs. The Timpview forfeits were upheld.
The Board of Trustees ruled that the seven-game forfeit would be lifted for East High, but the school will receive a $6,000 fine for allowing the ineligible player to participate in those games. They also will not be allowed to keep their Region 6 title, and coach Brandon Matich will be placed on a three-game probation.
The East High football program learned on Thursday that they would forfeit seven games due to an ineligible player that played in those games, and as a result the team would not qualify for the playoffs.
The player was ineligible due to paperwork that was filled out incorrectly when the student transferred from a charter school - and then the school's athletic director didn't follow up on it.
The players father is a coach at East - and says the whole reason his son transferred was because he has a heart condition that includes a pacemaker - and in order for him to play football he needed to be under constant supervision.
But, Kevin Dustin, the assistant director of the Utah High School Activities Association insists that no paperwork was submitted for the transfer student.
"They did not understand the rules correctly and no paperwork was submitted," Dustin said.
The UHSAA says any further proven rules violation regarding the 2012 football season will result in immediate disqualification of East from further participation this season.
However, it appears that East High was not the only school having issues with ineligible players. The Timpview football team has also been penalized for allowing an ineligible player to play in game against Mountain View High School.
The Board of Trustees ruled that the Timpview penalties would be upheld, and the team will forfeit the two preseason games that an ineligible player participated.
It was also ruled that Timpview would receive a $1,500 fine and any further proven rules violation regarding the 2012 football season will result in immediate disqualification of Timpview from further participation in the season.
On Friday, Timpview confessed that the ineligible player played not only in the Mountain View game, but also in their game against Maple Mountain. Timpview realized their second error while reviewing video footage of the game. Timpview said the player in question did not appear in the stats for the game which is why they didn't catch the error earlier.
When we found a player that was outside those parameters, we felt it was our responsibility to bring that forward.
–Al Poland, Timpview Athletic Director
"When we found a player that was outside those parameters, we felt it was our responsibility to bring that forward," said Timpview Athletic Director Al Poland.
Timpview will still be allowed to play in the playoffs, but without the ranking they feel they deserve.
"No question it's hard, because there are 120 plus football players at Timpview who have dedicated their summer (to this)," Poland said.
Because of the ruling against Timpview High School, it made tonight's game — Orem High School versus Timpanogos, that much more important.
Orem basically dominated the game, winning a share of the region title with Maple Mountain, but getting that all important number one seed. And even though Timpanogos lost tonight, the ruling against Timpview also means they get a higher seed.
"It's really big, because now we're going to end up being in a different place than what I thought we were fighting for, so," said Tricia Morin, a mother of a Timpanogos player.
Poland knows it should have been his school at the top, but he also says, his school did the right thing by reporting their ineligible player. He feels it's an important lesson for his students to always do the right thing, no matter how hard it is.