E.A. Sports Today

JCA fined, forfeits games

AHSAA hits Thunder boys basketball for self-reported violation of the transfer rule

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Jacksonville Christian Academy has been fined, forced to forfeit games and placed on probation for one year for violating the AHSAA transfer rule, the governing body announced in a news release Saturday morning.

The Thunder played an ineligible student in violation of the “Transfer Rule” specifically “Overlapping School Zones Rule” and “Academic Rule”, the AHSAA said. The school must forfeit all contests its team won in which the student participated.

The issue apparently was raised shortly after the Thunder’s victory over Spring Garden last week, JCA’s biggest victory of the season.

The school self-reported the violation, the AHSAA said.

JCA headmaster and head coach Tommy Miller said he hadn’t received formal notification from the AHSAA yet, but has been told a letter was coming detailing the decision.

“We will accept it,” Miller said. “I don’t agree with the way the rule is, but we will accept it and we will go on from there. I interpreted it one way, they interpreted it another. If we made a mistake, we made a mistake.”

Neither the AHSAA nor Miller identified the player, but it was noticed Antwon Fegans, an eighth-grader and one of the team’s leading scorer, was not in the scorebook of Friday night’s game with Donoho. Fegans was on street clothes on the bench during the game.

According to sources familiar with the situation, the player involved began the school year at one school as an eighth grader and then after a few months transferred to JCA and enrolled and went through school as a seventh grader.

“We don’t win many games; it’s not like we’re trying to make a championship,” Miller said. “It’s regretful. I hate it for the kid.”

JCA was one of five Calhoun County schools recognized by the AHSAA last year for going through the 2014-15 academic year fine- and ejection-free. It was the fourth time the Thunder had been so recognized.

The player involved did not play in every JCA game, Miller said, but he believed the team would have to forfeit “four or five” victories. The ruling doesn’t really impact its position in the upcoming Class 1A Area 13 tournament, but it does upset its chemistry.

The Thunder dropped from fourth seed to fifth seed in the tournament will still play Gaylesville in Monday night’s first-round play-in game at Spring Garden.

“It will have an effect,” Miller said. “We were really coming together and getting much better. We played a pretty good ballgame last night. I don’t know (how it’ll impact the team); we’ll have to wait and see.”

The probationary period is a warning that other violations of this nature could bring further sanctions against the school.

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