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SSAC releases letter

Individual’s name not revealed

October 27, 2012
By Brad Johnson and Anthony Gaynor - News Editor and Staff Writer (bjohnson@theintermountain.com) , The Inter-Mountain

Officials released the complaint letter Friday that prompted the ruling stripping Elkins High School of its football wins this season, but did not release the name of the person who submitted the document.

In response to a Freedom of Information Act request from The Inter-Mountain Thursday, the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission faxed the complaint Friday morning. The letter displays ink smudges obscuring names, addresses and phone numbers.

"The WVSSAC is not a state agency," the commission's executive director, Gary Ray, wrote in a letter accompanying the complaint. "Instead, the WVSSAC is a private, non-tax supported voluntary association ... the WVSSAC is not subject to FOIA.

"Nonetheless ... this office always attempts to answer any question which might be posed by any individual," Ray wrote. "I have enclosed a copy of that letter, but have blocked out any information on the letter that would be considered confidential."

The redacted letter reads: "My name is (words removed) and I am the proud parent of one of the (words removed) football players. I recently watched them play a game against Elkins High School. Being that I have a lot of associates in Elkins it has been brought to my attention that they may have an ineligible player.

"The transfer they received is apparently living with some friends. Unfortunately my understanding is that the people they live with must have guardianship of the child in order for them to attend school outside their home area. His parents, so I have been told, live out of state and his current housing is not with guardians.

"I would appreciate it if you would look into this matter. If he is an ineligible player then that is not fair to the teams that have been playing against Elkins using all eligible players. If our players have to be eligible then so should theirs.

"Please contact me for any further information via phone (words removed) or via email@(words removed). Again thank you for your cooperation in this matter."

Gary said earlier this week that "it would serve no purpose" to release the name of the person who submitted the complaint.

A Barbour County woman called The Inter-Mountain Friday morning and claimed to be the person who filed the complaint, but declined to give her name.

"I don't care about winning and losing," she said in a phone conversation with a reporter. "I am trying to teach a community of kids about rules. We had an ineligible at Philip Barbour High School who did not play. He is still fighting for eligibility. The point is the kid was not eligible to play."

The woman refused to give her name during her conversation with The Inter-Mountain, saying she wanted to protect her children, who are students.

"Unfortunately, the team has to suffer because the administrators didn't do their jobs," she said. "I am sorry for (EHS) Coach (Greg) Hott and the players."

The woman said she found out about the possible eligibility infraction when EHS took on PBHS during the Oct. 4 contest at Wimer Stadium.

"I had a parent from Elkins tell me he moved here before the season," she said. "As soon as they told me that, I knew he was not eligible so I wrote the letter."

The woman claimed she knew the player was ineligible because she went through the process of transferring her children and had to file the proper waivers so they could participate in athletics. She said her son plays football, but not for the varsity team.

"It is the principle of the matter," she said. "I sent in the letter approximately a week after the game. I looked at my notes about the eligibility rules and I was under the assumption he was not and that is why I sent the letter."

The woman said the purpose of making the complaint was not to affect the playoff picture, but to ensure everyone follows procedures.

"They had a great season," she said. "Unfortunately, this is what happens when the administration does not follow the rules."

 
 

 

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