Ravenna officials asserted Saturday that the Nebraska School Activities Association made an about-face on an eligibility ruling, which has resulted in the school forfeiting its first seven games in what had been an undefeated, state championship season in boys basketball.
The NSAA, which also ordered Ravenna to forfeit its six wins during the 2011 football season, will not strip the Bluejays of the 2012 Class C-2 basketball title. Ravenna’s records change to 0-9 in football and 21-7 in basketball.
Ravenna Principal Corey Fisher said in a statement the NSAA ruled that a student who played on the school’s football and basketball teams was ineligible to participate in activities for the first 90 days of the school year.
The student is known to be Trace Armstrong, a senior who transferred from Wood River and is headed to Kansas State as a preferred walk-on in football.
“The NSAA made this determination despite the fact that the NSAA assured the school and the student’s parents prior to the beginning of the school year that the student was eligible to participate,” Fisher said.
Fisher said the school became aware that the student’s eligibility was being questioned in late February, the same time the principal said the NSAA received information from an anonymous telephone call that led the NSAA to its investigation.
“Obviously, we are disappointed by the NSAA’s decision and ruling,” Fisher said. “Ravenna Public Schools continuously addresses accountability with school staff and students (including players and coaches). Neither the school nor the student had any intention of violating any NSAA rules.
“The school and parents believed it could reasonably rely on the information provided it by NSAA staff. In retrospect, that was our error. The school does not feel it can comment further on this issue due to privacy concerns related to the student and the family and due to our obligation to respect the NSAA process.”
The only public acknowledgement the NSAA has made about the forfeits is on its website, in which it reflected the forfeits on Ravenna’s season results for football and basketball.
In an email to The World-Herald, Steve Shanahan, the NSAA’s interim executive director, said:
“It has been our policy, and it will continue to be, that disciplinary actions and sanctions regarding any school are only released by that school district.”
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