Minnesota boys soccer officials have barred Prairie Seeds Academy in Brooklyn Park from the state soccer tournament, but not because players got into a fist fight with players from Totino Grace High School after an Oct. 18 game.
The Minnesota State High School League started investigating Prairie Seeds after the brawl and determined the team had an ineligible player because of a paperwork issue, Fox 9 reports.
With regard to the post-game fight, the investigation found that 12 players – six from each school – were involved to varying degrees in the fight, and the MSHSL issued the following punishments (see full statement below): five players will be ineligible for a minimum period of four weeks; five other players will be ineligible for one game; two players will have no penalty.
Here's a previous news clip that shows the fight:
The MSHSL posted its statement on its Facebook page, sparking a lively debate that generated more than 60 comments.
Here's the full statement:
Prairie Seeds Academy disqualified from state soccer tournament
Use of an ineligible player during the entire 2012 soccer season has led the Minnesota State High School League to disqualify Prairie Seeds Academy from the State Class A Boys' Soccer Tournament.
During its investigation of an altercation that broke out following the Section 5A championship soccer match between Prairie Seeds Academy of Brooklyn Park and Totino-Grace of Fridley, the League received information that questioned the eligibility of a Prairie Seeds Academy player who was involved in the post-game altercation.
Records showed that the student attended a different school during the 2011-12 school year and transferred to Prairie Seeds Academy this fall. A Student Transfer Online Form was never initiated by Prairie Seeds Academy. Thus, the student was never eligible to participate in varsity soccer, and per League Bylaw 304--Ineligible Player, the game and honors shall be forfeited.
Prairie Seeds Academy defeated Totino-Grace 2-1 on Oct. 18 to advance to this week's quarterfinals. Prairie Seeds Academy was seeded No. 2 by the qualifying team coaches and Marshall School of Duluth was randomly selected to face them this Friday, Oct. 26. Due to the disqualification, Marshall School will advance to next week's semifinal at the Metrodome. Totino-Grace will not replace Prairie Seeds Academy because of the uncertainty of which team may have advanced earlier in the section tournament had Prairie Seeds Academy not played.
"The Minnesota State High School League Board of Directors and League staff are extremely disappointed by the action of individuals immediately following, and connected directly to, the Oct. 18, 2012, Section 5A Championship Soccer Game held at Maple Grove High School," said League Executive Director Dave Stead. "Such behavior is not condoned and should never be a part of any high school game or school activity."
The constitution of the League provides that "... member school(s) will abide by and enforce the Articles of Incorporation, Constitution, Bylaws and Regulations of the League." Both Prairie Seeds Academy and Totino-Grace have submitted 2012-2013 Resolution for Membership forms to the League office.
The constitution of the League further provides that the League Board of Directors:
"... has general supervision over all interscholastic contests between members of the League and shall make arrangements for and have full charge of all state tournaments and state interscholastic meets.
"It shall also exercise authority over all eligibility problems and cases which are not specifically provided for.
"It shall have control of all sub region, region and section contests, but each region committee is charged with their immediate management.
"It shall provide penalties for violations of the bylaws of the League when they are not specific in the Constitution and/or Activity Bylaws.
"It shall interpret all bylaws and provisions set forth in this Constitution, the Activity Bylaws and other bylaws and regulations of the League. The Board may delegate this responsibility to the executive director for periods between meetings."
On Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, members of the League staff and the coaches and administrative representatives from Prairie Seeds Academy and Totino-Grace High School met in the League office to review and discuss the facts surrounding the altercation that occurred in the vicinity of the Totino-Grace team bench with no time remaining on the clock at the conclusion of the Oct. 18, 2012, Section 5A Championship Soccer Game.
Following a thorough, frame-by-frame review of video that was provided to the League by Channel 12 of Northwest Community Television, Brooklyn Park, League staff and the coaches and administrative representatives from both schools agreed that six players from each school had been involved in the altercation in varying degrees.
Five players were determined to have thrown punches at or kicked players or coaches from the opposing team, and five players were determined to have been involved to a lesser degree. It was also agreed that two players identified in the video were not involved in the altercation.
League staff then reviewed the powers and duties of the League Board of Directors, the most current League Official Handbook and the current NFHS Soccer Rules Book. Then League staff consulted individually with members of the League Board of Directors Executive Committee, which authorized the League executive director to take the following action:
Five players will be ineligible for a minimum period of four weeks;
Five other players will be ineligible for one game;
Two players will have no penalty.
In addition, the full League Board of Directors will review the entire incident when they meet in regular session on Dec. 6, 2012. Additional action may be taken at that time as determined by the Board.