Patterson’s Perspective: When is a forfeit not a loss??

For those that haven’t been following along let me bring you up to speed on what I’m talking about.

The Sabino High School girls basketball team is the #1 team in 3A. This week they reported that they had used an ineligible player the entire season. The AIA then changed those 12 wins into losses via forfeit. That is when things got confusing.

See if you can keep up. I had to read the following several times before I could even begin to wrap my head around it.

Because the MaxPreps power point system can’t assume who will win a game if they played it again without the ineligible player they are no-contests. There is nothing in the AIA bylaws addressing how a forfeit is handled, other than it is a no game in the rankings. They will still count as games played for the minimums  for Sabino to qualify for the postseason, but no game played for the rankings. Even though it is a forfeit victory for the other teams, it’s not counted for points because it “wasn’t played” on the court.

I hope you read that paragraph a couple of times. That was the response I received from the AIA when I asked about this situation. As of right now Sabino girls are still #1 but with a 5-0 record instead of the 5-10 record that shows on their AZPreps365 schedule.

This is a real head scratcher for me. You are telling me that a team can break the rules but not get punished at all? What does this teach our youth? Cheat until you get caught and then you still might not get in trouble?

This isn’t the first time the Sabino athletic department has been in trouble with the AIA either. As a matter of fact, according the AIA Executive Board Meeting minutes from January 22nd, the Sabino girls basketball team was placed on advisement for the period of one year. Here is the ruling verbatim:

SABINO HIGH SCHOOL – Tucson Unified School District
Rule: Article 22. Basketball, Section 22.5 Number of Games in Season

Reported Violation:
Sabino girls’ basketball had a sophomore play in 7 quarters between the JV and Varsity games. The JV team
only has 6 players and 3 of them play varsity also. One of the JV girls sustained a concussion in the 4th quarter
of the JV game which caused the student to play in all 4 quarters instead of her normal 3 JV quarters. The head
varsity coach did not realize that she had played in all 4 JV quarters and played her in her usual 3 varsity quarters.

Schools Corrective Action:
Contest forfeited. With the beginning of the new semester we now have 8 healthy/academically eligible JV
participants plus we get another girls eligible on Jan 15 who transferred in from another school. In the future if
we fall below 7 healthy eligible JV participants we will cancel the contest.

Executive Board Action:
Executive Board, in accordance with Article 16, Section 16.1 of the AIA Bylaws, placed the Sabino High School
Girls’ Basketball Program on Advisement for one year 1/22/19-1/22/20.

Herman House – abstained

You see Herman House abstained from voting on this violation. He is the Executive Committee President as well as the Tucson Unified School District Athletic Director, the same district that Sabino is a member of.

How does a team that was already placed on advisement this season for a separate violation not get a postseason ban after a second, even more egregious violation?

The fans of American Leadership Academy-Queen Creek are asking the same question. In January of 2018 ALA-QC self reported an ineligible player for football and basketball. The football team had won the 2016 3A State Championship. Those games were turned into forfeits. The same ineligible player that played football also played 7 basketball games. The basketball team was punished with losses for those games and dropped them in the rankings that ultimately had them playing a “neutral” play off game against Chinle in Ganado, plus the team was placed on probation.

Both situations seem to be the same violation of the AIA rules. The only difference this year for Sabino is now a forfeit doesn’t equal a loss or a win but does still count as a game that was played but really wasn’t since no team won or lost…