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Prep basketball: Ineligible player forces Olympus to forfeit 4 games

Published March 1, 2014 4:07 pm

Boys basketball • Titans drop into the third seed in Region 7 for upcoming 4A tournament.
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The Olympus boys' basketball team will forfeit four Region 7 games due to an academically ineligible player, dropping it to the region's No. 3 seed in the upcoming Class 4A state tournament.

Olympus coach Matt Barnes said the player in question, who he declined to name, played insignificant minutes at the end of the four games, all blowout wins for the Titans. The player was ineligible while playing in victories over Skyline, Corner Canyon, Timpanogos and Murray from Feb. 4 to Feb. 14.

When the Olympus administration discovered Wednesday that the player, a senior, had failed two Advanced Placement classes and had been ineligible, it decided to forfeit the games, Barnes said.

Region 7 representatives on Friday recommended that punishment — plus a letter of reprimand for Barnes and Olympus athletic director Kael Ashton — to the Utah High School Activities Association, UHSAA director Rob Cuff said. The UHSAA executive committee will review the recommendation Monday.

A member of the executive committee can at that point appeal the punishment in the recommendation, but Cuff said he doesn't foresee an appeal.

Barnes said he is strict about checking his team's grades, but he did not think the grades of the player, who had a GPA above 3.0, were a concern.

"I believe in doing things the right way, but this slipped through the cracks," Barnes said. "We had no idea and neither did the player. … It was my mistake and we'll deal with the consequences and move forward."

Barnes said he does not disagree with the decision to forfeit the games, but said it was unfortunate because the player did not play any meaningful minutes while ineligible.

The four forfeitures drop the Titans' region record from 10-2 to 6-6. They had been tied in the loss column with Orem atop the Region 7 standings but will now enter the Class 4A tournament as the region's No. 3 seed. If Orem beats Skyline Tuesday, the Tigers would secure the top seed, while Mountain View would claim the second seed.

Olympus will now match up with the No. 2 seed from Region 5, which will be either Logan or Sky View, which are tied in the loss column.

Barnes said the impact of the change should be minor on the tournament, as Region 5's No. 2 seed would have otherwise had to play Mountain View, which has lost just four games all season and beat the Titans at Olympus on Tuesday.

"It's kind of an unfortunate deal for whoever we play in the first round," Barnes said. "But it's not too drastic."


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