One of the rising powers in Class 6A football, East Ridge High School, will forfeit the conference and section championships they won over the last two seasons, because one of their players were ineligible.
Minnesota Football Hub, reports staff and parents received an email Thursday from Mike Johnson, the assistant superintendent of the South Washington County School District, saying the player involved "never actually lived at the residence that was listed on the paperwork provided by the family as part of the required documentation of residence."
The district did not identify the player, only noting that it was someone who played varsity football during the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
"This is a very disappointing situation for the students of East Ridge High School," said Johnson. "When this was brought to our attention, we immediately corrected what we could and are working through all resolutions required by the Minnesota State High School League."
Under MSHSL rules, schools must forfeit games and honors in which an ineligible student played. That means the Raptors had to give up their 2013 Suburban East Conference championship and its 2014 state tournament berth.
East Ridge coach Mike Pendino told the South Washington County Bulletin that he only learned of the school district's investigation a couple of weeks ago, and added that he didn't knowingly play an ineligible student. Pendino added that East Ridge officials did nothing wrong either, noting that it's the district that handles the paperwork.
"No teacher can be involved, no coaches involved and the administration is not even involved," Pendino told the Pioneer Press. "That's the way our district does it. So when kids show up for practice, you coach them. When kids show up in the classroom, the teachers teach them. That's the process. All we can do is go through the process."
The district statement said it's addressing the findings of its internal investigation regarding the ineligibility, and will continue to consult with the state high school league to ensure appropriate compliance in the future.