Arlington Public Schools this afternoon announced that eight teams have had to forfeit games from the 2011-2012 school year because of participation by ineligible players.
The alleged mistakes occurred during the tenure of an athletic director, Ted Dever, whom the district is now trying to fire. Dever is also the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation.
The announcement about the forfeitures came one day after Dever, who is out on paid administrative leave, criticized the school district’s efforts to fire him as unfounded.
Dever’s attorney Rick Grundy said news of the forfeitures Wednesday was the first he had heard of the issue, and they have not been raised with his client during the school district’s efforts to fire him.
Superintendent of Schools Kathleen Bodie said in a press release that an investigation by the district found that 12 teams had ineligible players during the 2011-2012 school year, including some that were ineligible because of their grades and some foreign exchange students who did not have the required waivers.
UPDATE: Wednesday night, Bodie disclosed which teams had forfeited games.
Multiple teams, including the fall 2011 boys junior and varsity soccer teams, along with the spring 2012 boys varsity tennis and girls junior varsity softball teams, had to forfeit their wins from the entire season.
The varsity wrestling team has had to forfeit its first three matches of the 2011-2012 season, the varsity baseball team forfeited its first three games, the freshman baseball team forfeited all of its wins beginning April 10, and the girls junior varsity lacrosse team forfeited all of its wins during the first 12 games of the season. (Full list below.)
In Bodie’s press release Wednesday, the superintendent said the academic eligibility to play a sport should be verified by the athletic department by checking grades of student athletes each term. After assuming the position at the start of the school year, acting Athletic Director Rob DiLoreto learned that there may have been academic eligibility issues during last school year while checking on eligibility for the fall term, according to the school district.
DiLoreto took the interim job after Dever was placed on administrative leave on Aug. 27 after Arlington Police informed the school district that Dever was the subject of a criminal investigation.
Arlington Police said the investigation is ongoing, but have not released what the investigation is about.
But Grundy said Bodie sent Dever a letter on Nov. 15 of her intention to dismiss him. Grundy said the reasons for the firing provided by the school district are performance related, and have not referenced the criminal investigation.
Dever had a hearing with Bodie and an attorney representing the school district on Dec. 4, and Grundy said the school officials raised questions about Dever not completing the eligibility checks for student athletes for the fall 2012 season. Grundy said Dever was placed on administrative leave before he had the opportunity to complete the eligibility checks.
Grundy has criticized the school district's effort to fire Dever as unfounded and based on faulty information. He said that at no time have school officials raised concerns about student eligibility from the 2011-2012 season with Dever.
“If they had this information, why wasn’t it included in the initial letter?” Grundy said.
Bodie declined to comment about Dever Wednesday night, saying it was a personnel matter.
In her press release Wednesday, the superintendent said she along with interim Arlington High School Principal Mary Villano and DiLoreto, have reviewed the enforcement of its verification procedures in the Athletic Department and is establishing a system of checks and balances to ensure that those procedures are enforced and that only eligible athletes participate in sports.
"These forfeitures are unfortunate but they should not adversely reflect on any of our student athletes or coaches," Bodie said.
Here is the list of forfeitures, according to Bodie:
Boys Varsity Soccer – forfeit all wins for entire season
Boys Junior Varsity Soccer – forfeit all wins for entire season
Winter 2011 – 2012:
Varsity Wrestling – forfeit first 3 matches
Varsity Baseball – forfeit 3 games
Boys Varsity Tennis – forfeit all wins for entire season
Freshman Baseball – forfeit all wins beginning April 10
Girls Junior Varsity Lacrosse – forfeit all wins for first 12 games
Girls Junior Varsity Softball – forfeit all wins for entire season
In addition, ineligible student athletes participated in the following
sports but there were no wins which could be forfeited:
Boys Varsity Indoor Track
Girls Varsity Indoor Track