Topeka High School will forfeit its winning 2017 season, after a police officer found one of its players was living in a home outside the school’s attendance boundary, according to the activities association.
Jacqez Barksdale never moved from the Highland Park area, and was ineligible to play for Topeka High during the last football season, according to Gary Musselman, executive director of the Kansas State High School Activities Association, which oversees rules for school teams in the state. Barksdale and several other students changed schools last year.
The school will forfeit all eight wins from last season and its share of the Centennial League championship. The team was 8-2 for the season.
The student’s father had made a change of residence for the student and the transfer to Topeka High was processed normally, but the student was not living with his father, Musselman said. A school resource officer determined the student wasn’t living there when checking on eligibility requirements for Jacquez’s brother, Jovan. Jacqez told the school’s principal he was not living at the house near the school.
The KSHSAA board held a nearly six hour hearing Wednesday to determine the outcome of the eligibility problem, Musselman said. While Jacqez Barksdale is now allowed to participate in sports at Topeka High, after the state requires a student to sit out of sports for 18 weeks when transferring to a school outside the attendance area, he was not eligible to participate in the last football season.
Jacqez Barksdale will be required to sit out at least two football games and eight other sporting events, to be eligible to play on the football season for his senior year Musselman said. The eight events can be sitting out basketball games, track and field events or other sports. The student recently quit the basketball team as the situation came to light.
Musselman said no team in the state has had to forfeit as many games in one season in his 30 years at KSHSAA.
“No one at the activities association takes any pleasure in these very unfortunate situations,” Musselman said. “No one wants to do anything to cause a young person to miss opportunities.”
He said the association is, “tasked with enforcing the rules to ensure that there is fairness.”
Musselman said the school and school district responded appropriately, by notifying the activities association that they were concerned about the player’s eligibility.