HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Saint Francis football team will forfeit it’s entire 2018 season due to an ineligible fifth-year player on it’s roster, school officials say.
Saint Francis (9-0) went undefeated this season, but will not be allowed to play in the state tournament. The season forfeiture is expected to make Pac-Five, which went 3-5 on the season, the ILH’s Division II champion.
“Due to misinformation in the admissions process five years ago, this fell through the cracks,” said Dr. Casey Asato, head of school at St. Francis.
In a phone interview with Hawaii News Now, Asato expressed how troubling the past few hours have been for himself and the team.
“This is absolutely devastating,” he said. “I have not even had the opportunity to speak with the team, to speak with families, to speak with coaches. It’s unfortunate and deeply troubling that this was announced to the press prior to the opportunity to speak with the families.”
St. Francis is in violation of a rule in the ILH Handbook that states, “A student will have four consecutive school calendar years of varsity eligibility from the date he or she begins the ninth grade for the first time at any school.”
“It was brought to our attention and we need to abide by the regulations of the ILH. It was the right thing to do,” said Asato.
The issue concerns a player who enrolled at St. Francis five years ago. Upon enrollment, he was required to repeat the eighth grade despite having attended 9th grade classes for part of the school year at the public school.
The unnamed player, who was an eligible member of the football team at an OIA school during the 2014-2015 school year, then played four consecutive years on the St. Francis football roster, making him a fifth-year senior on the active varsity roster.
This was to be the first state tournament for the St. Francis varsity football program which was formed in 2012.