The Ashley Ridge baseball team is being forced to forfeit several games due to a rules violation.
On Tuesday, Ashley Ridge Athletic Director/Assistant Principal Bobby Behr confirmed the South Carolina High School League has imposed sanctions on the Swamp Fox baseball program after it was determined the AR varsity team played an athlete last spring who wasn’t eligible.
The program had to forfeit all games in which the player participated and the school has been fined $2,500. Behr said he doesn’t know exactly how many games the player participated in, but he participated in the majority of them.
The player began last school year at Summerville High School and transferred to Ashley Ridge when his family moved into the AR attendance zone. However, he was on probation at SHS when he transferred and high school league bylaws state, in order to be eligible to participate with an athletic team at the new school, a transfer student must be in good academic standing with the former school and eligible to play at the former school.
“We followed normal eligibility procedures but when we approved him to play we didn’t know he wasn’t eligible at the school he came from,” Behr said. “I made a mistake and I feel bad for the kids on that team.”
The forfeits could have been avoided had there been communication between the two Dorchester District Two schools prior to the paperwork on the transfer being filed and approved by the high school league. Even after the transfer student played in a game against the Green Wave, no official complaint was made by SHS officials.
It was a parent who brought the matter to the attention of school district and high school league officials.
The player at the center of the matter participated in fall workouts with the Green Wave baseball team last school year. He and three other athletes were disciplined after it was determined they were involved in an incident that violated team and school district rules. The incident occurred prior to a fall workout held at DuBose Middle School.
One of the students was assigned to the Givens Alternative Program and the other three were placed on probation. As part of their probation, they were told they could not participate in any SHS athletic programs for the remainder of the school year.
Robert Heaton, the parent of one of the other athletes placed on probation, didn’t think it was fair that three of the athletes who were disciplined had to sit out an entire year while another was allowed to play so he contacted school district and high school league officials to complain.
Among his concerns is that the transfer student, who he says made the same mistake his son did, will have an extra season to impress college scouts that the other three athletes won’t have.
The sanctions imposed on the AR program will not affect the Swamp Foxes’ 2015 baseball season. The team will be eligible for the playoffs. However, Behr says the team’s preseason activities will be affected.