Omaha Central has been forced to forfeit last month’s girls basketball victory against Omaha Marian for using an ineligible player.
Eagles Athletic Director Darin Williams said he first learned of the situation Monday from the Nebraska School Activities Association. The NSAA had received an anonymous email saying that a Central varsity player had participated in non-school competition Jan. 13.
“An adult asked her if she could play for a team because they were short a player,” Williams said. “That’s a violation of the rules, and all of our players should know that.”
Because of that participation — Williams declined to name the player — the Eagles were forced to forfeit their next game that was on the schedule. Central defeated Marian 68-30 Jan. 18.
Williams said he supports the NSAA rule “100 percent.”
“It’s a good rule,” he said. “I just wish we could somehow penalize the adults who ask players to do things like this.”
Williams said after receiving the call from the NSAA, he spoke with the player. After learning the information was true, he notified the association and the penalty was subsequently handed down.
That one loss might seem inconsequential — the defending Class A champion Eagles went from 16-4 to 15-5 — but it almost cost Central a host site in next week’s district tournament. The Eagles were fourth in wild card points before the forfeit, and dropped to seventh after.
The top seven schools in wild card points will host districts.
“That would have really been unfortunate,” Williams said. “I’m very happy that didn’t get affected.”
What was affected were the district matchups coaches thought they had figured out Sunday. The scrambled wild card points changed several district matchups, including the two teams affected by the forfeit.
As a seventh seed, Central could face No. 9 Omaha Benson in the A-7 district final. The Crusaders, who originally would have played in the A-5 district at Millard North, now shift to the A-4 district at Lincoln Southeast.
“Our only disappointment is that now we’ll be traveling out of town,” Marian Athletic Director Rochelle Rohlfs said. “This time of year, your opponent is going to be tough no matter who it is.”
Williams said the player who led to the forfeit must sit out Thursday night’s game at Omaha Bryan.
“We always try to make sure we follow the rules,” he said. “This was just something that shouldn’t have happened.”
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