The Mandevillle High baseball team must forfeit eight of its wins this season for using an ineligible player.
The school will appeal the LHSAA’s ruling Friday morning, said Mandeville coach Mark Weinmunson.
The Louisiana High School Athletics Association announced the penalties Thursday morning.
Freshman Fritz Walker, who didn’t meet the LHSAA’s residency requirements, played in 25 games this season for the Skippers.
Mandeville will have to forfeit its victories against Riverside Academy, East St. John High, St. Augustine, Ponchatoula, Fontainebleau, St. Paul’s, Hammond and Fontainebleau.
Those last five games were district games and altered the standings in District 6-5A.
Before the ruling, the Skippers were 12-17 and 8-5 in district play. But after the ruling, they fell to 4-25 overall and 3-10 in district. They loss their season finale 11-5 to Covington on Thursday to finish 4-26 (3-11 in dirstirct).
They were ranked 43rd in the most recent LHSAA power rankings for Class 5A. Only the top 32 teams make the playoffs, but the Skippers had a chance to gain an automatic playoff berth if they had finished in first place in the district.
Those hopes were dashed with Thursday’s loss.
“With the appeal, hopefully we get our wins and get to end on a good note and try to build for next year,” said Weinmunson, in his first season. “We are getting back into playing in the American Legion this summer and try to comepete and develop these players we have coming back.”
The penalties stemmed from a violation of rule 1.17.1 of the LHSAA handbook.
That rule states: “If permanent legal custody by a court of law has not been granted, the student shall remain eligible only in the zone in which the student’s parents have been residing prior to their separation.
If both of the student’s parents move to a residence outside of the attendance zone in which the student has been attending an LHSAA school, the student may be ruled eligible with the parent who he/she is residing with at the time the change of residence is made by that parent.
After that time, the student shall not be eligible with the other parent unless the other parent is awarded legal custody of the student through a court of law.”
Walker is ruled ineligible until he has attended Mandeville for one calendar year. Once he has attended for a calendar year, he will also have to sit out 25 games (the number of games he played this season). That means Walker will miss most of next season.
Mandeville was also assessed a $200 fine.
“It’s an extremely unfortunate situation for the players and the team,” Mandeville principal Bruce Bundy said in a statement sent Thursday by the St. Tammany Parish Public School Board director of communications.