The Virginia High School League ruled Tuesday that William Fleming must forfeit two 2012-13 boys basketball victories for using an academically ineligible player.
William Fleming used the ineligible player in a 57-34 nondistrict victory over Hidden Valley on Dec. 27 and in a 51-42 Western Valley District win over Halifax County on Jan. 4.
Both games were played following the final day of classes in first semester of the Roanoke City Schools academic calendar, in which the player did not pass the required VHSL minimum of five courses.
Scholarship rule 28-4-3(3) on Page 67 of the VHSL Handbook reads as follows: For the purpose of this rule the student’s eligibility or ineligibility shall be determined on the first day of the school year and on the first calendar day following the end of the first semester according to the school board adopted calendar.
William Fleming’s administration appealed the forfeits with a belief that the first semester did not conclude until Jan. 6 the day before grades from teachers were due to be posted.
The VHSL disagreed. A four-man panel composed of members of the VHSL Executive Committee handed down a “unanimous and very quick” decision Tuesday afternoon, according to VHSL spokesman Mike McCall.
William Fleming principal Archie Freeman said Tuesday that he first informed the VHSL of the situation on Jan. 7.
The forfeits cost William Fleming’s boys team the outright Western Valley championship. Instead of a 16-5 overall record and a 7-1 district record, the Colonels are 14-7 overall and 6-2 in the WVD, tying George Washington for first place.
William Fleming and George Washington will meet in a one-game playoff for the district title Thursday at Franklin County High School in Rocky Mount.