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MSHSL reverses decision to vacate boys soccer games

After ruling that the Alexandria boys’ soccer program would have to vacate three wins and a tie this week, the Minnesota State High School League notified school officials Thursday morning that they had reversed the decision.

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The MSHSL reviewed the policies regarding an ineligible player participating in games, and decided to reverse the decision. Activities Director David Hartmann said he was notified of the decision this morning.

“I think the biggest thing is that there was some language that was difficult to understand and interpret,” Hartmann said.

Originally, when the school reported the violation, they raised questions about the league’s policy. When the league revised the decision they admitted that parts of the policy were confusing.

“Part of that was our school lawyer got involved with it and the league went back and took another look at what they had determined,” Hartmann said. “Again, we want to do the right thing and we appreciate that.”

In the section, the decision had been made last night to vote on seeding and honor all the games as they had been played. The section seedings will now be decided on team record as they had in the past.

“There probably would have been no impact on seeding, and now we will go back to the QRF,” Hartmann said.

Hartmann said most of the players had not heard about the new decision by the MSHSL around noon on Thursday afternoon.

“I notified coaches, and I’m sure players are going to hear pretty quickly,” Hartmann said. “But I haven’t had the chance to talk to any players yet.”

Even though the decision would likely not have cost the Cardinals seeding in the section tournament, the players will now be rewarded for their efforts in their games this season.

“After yesterday’s region meeting, when it wasn’t going to impact seeding, it wasn’t like it took away a conference championship or anything like that,” Hartmann said. “We’ll just proceed and we’re excited to have the kids be rewarded for the work they did.”

The ineligible player will continue to serve the rest of his suspension this season. But with the new decision the team will no longer be penalized for a player participating in games through his suspension.

“The player will continue to be ineligible, must serve his penalty, but the rest of the team won’t be penalized for him not sitting out,” Hartmann said.

The original decision to vacate the wins was made after Hartmann had reported to the MSHSL that a member of the boys’ soccer team had played many of the team’s games despite a violation of the rules of eligibility for participation under the MSHSL guidelines.

Details about the violation or the player involved were not released in an e-mailed response from District 206 Communications Coordinator Jill Johnson on Wednesday that was approved by Superintendent Richard Lahn.

“Due to data privacy guidelines, the name of the student athlete involved will not be made public and the specific rule violation will not be disclosed,” Johnson said.

According to the statement, the rules violation had occurred last November, and because the incident happened after the season ended, the suspension should have started at the beginning of the 2013 season.