SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. (WNCN) – At Pinecrest High School football is king. The community is deeply involved in the Patriots success celebrating every win, while feeling the pain of each loss.
But on Friday, this proud program was hit with devastating news that had nothing to do with the teams performance. The North Carolina High School Athletic Association ruled the Patriots ineligible for post season play.
“We asked the North Carolina High School Athletic Association to reconsider the forfeiture of games,” said Pinecrest Principal Bob Christina said Monday. “Our appeal was denied.”
Pinecrest failed to provide proper paperwork concerning the “Eight Quarter Participation” rule. That is a measure put in place to make sure players who play both junior varsity and varsity football are healthy enough to do so.
The school argued the players were properly cleared to play by theteam’s medical staff. The trouble is that clearance needed to be documented but wasn’t.
“Our players have suffered with the penalties through no fault of their own,” said Christina.
But the rules are very clear and written out in the NCHSAA handbook. The Association stands by those rules.
“You have to do this on a weekly basis,” said NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker.
“It’s on the form itself and it talks of being done after that Thursday night game and prior to playing on Friday nights.”
The rule was originally put in place to help smaller schools who had to dip down to the junior varsity when a Friday night player was injured.
That athlete could then play eight quarters of varsity football as well as participate at the JV level. After eight quarters he had to play one or the other. None of their players, said Pinecrest, violated that rule.
“The issue did not give our school and advantage over any other school and did not impact safety,” argued Christina.
The Pinecrest principal says the school takes responsibility for the snafu and will commission a third party investigation.
The North Carolina High School Athletic Association praised Christina’s handling of the situation.
“It’s very devastating not only to the players but it involves the staff, administration there at Pinecrest and it involves the community at large,” said Tucker.
Now, the Southern Pines community that has embraced their football program sees it’s teams football season come to an end.
The 9-2 Patriots record will now read 1-10. The school will also have to pay a $5,000 fine.
Pinecrest High School hosted a #WNCNBlitz Friday morning pep rally on Oct. 30. For highlights, click here.
For more information about Pinecrest High School’s football Patriots, go online to www.pcpatriotsfootball.com.