HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Saint Francis appealed the forfeiture of its varsity football team’s undefeated season due to an ineligible fifth-year senior on the team, but that appeal was denied late Thursday night.
"We take full responsibility of that, we were not contesting that at all. But there were other aspects to the case that we were appealing,” said Saint Francis Head of School Casey Asato.
“We were hopeful that the appeal’s committee might conclude with a different decision, but yeah, just devastating."
Asato told Hawaii News Now that he hopes for more clarity in situations like this moving forward among the ILH, HHSAA and schools across the state.
Asato also said that the school’s appeal was centered around forfeiting just five games instead of the entire season due to the fact that the player involved with the violation didn’t play in three of the team’s wins in 2018.
Saint Francis (9-0) went undefeated this season, but will not be allowed to play in the state tournament. Pac-Five will now represent the ILH in the Division II state tournament while St. Francis' season is erased from the record books.
This would have been the first trip to the state tournament in school history
“Due to misinformation in the admissions process five years ago, this fell through the cracks,” Asato said last week when he was first made aware of the violation.
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.”
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.