The Mississippi Association of Independent Schools devastated Bowling Green players and coaches last week with a ruling that the Bucs must forfeit all six of the team’s football victories this season.
The ruling comes as a result of a complaint to MAIS alleging that Bowling Green used two ineligible players in its games thus far in the 2019 season. The complaint came from Wayne Academy, in Waynesboro, Mississippi. Bowling Green defeated Wayne Academy on Friday, September 27, and Wayne Academy complained to the MAIS office on Monday, September 30.
In an email sent to the MAIS office, Wayne Academy reported that they learned of the ineligible players from a former Bowling Green coach. However, The Era-Leader contacted the former coach and he denied that he contacted Wayne Academy.
Charles Hoots, headmaster of Wayne Academy, who filed the complaint with the MAIS office, declined to comment to The Era-Leader.
The ruling hits the Bucs very hard, because they are enjoying one of their best seasons ever and recently won the District Championship. Now, instead of being 6-0 and District Champs, they are suddenly 0-6 and have given up their District Championship.
The Bucs had a bye last Friday and have Homecoming this Friday. There are only two games left in the season and Bowling Green will continue to play, but without using the players who were ruled to be ineligible, said Ms Beverly Young, the principal. She noted that neither the coaching staff or the school administration were aware that the players were ineligible. The ruling is related to the number of consecutive semesters that the two players were enrolled for in high schools.
Ms. Young said if Bowling Green can win its final two games, there is still a chance they might be able to make the playoffs. She said that regardless of the outcome, the students, players, coaches, and the school staff will overcome this situation. She noted that the sanctions will not affect any other sport at Bowling Green and they will not affect the football program in the future.
Ms Young said she is “physically sick” about the forfeiture issue. But she said she is proud that the coaches and the staff have taken this “devastating information with integrity, knowing that the real victims are our children.”
Ms Young also addressed the sudden removal of Bowling Green’s District Championship: “Even though we will forfeit the six games, nothing can take away the pride and excitement in those wins. In the players' hearts they will remain District Champs and winners.”
Bowling Green will host Silliman at 7 p.m. this Friday night at the school’s W.E. “Buck” Hellen Stadium, and Homecoming will be celebrated.