Guyer self-reported on Monday to the District 5-4A executive committee that it used an ineligible player in the first two games of the football season and forfeited a win over Colleyville Heritage on Sept. 5.
The Wildcats, ranked No. 3 in The Associated Press Class 4A state poll, are now 1-2 and right back where they started last season, when they reeled off 13 straight wins en route to the Class 4A Division I state championship.
On the field, Guyer beat Heritage 35-14, but will now forfeit the game after it was discovered the Wildcats had unknowingly played an ineligible player in the game. The player did not play in Friday’s win over Flower Mound Marcus, and the Wildcats lost their season opener to Cedar Hill.
The player was discovered to be ineligible because he was a foreign-exchange student in 2012 — usually a one-year deal — but decided to return to Guyer this year. University Interscholastic League rules allow for a one-year waiver for extra-curricular activities for foreign exchange students.
The student-athlete also had three years of high school in his home country before coming to Guyer in 2012, so this year is his fifth of high school.
“In my 41 years [in coaching], I’ve never had a foreign-exchange student stay for two years,” Denton ISD athletic director Ken Purcell said. “Most of them are one-year programs, so that’s all you ever worry about. You get a one-year waiver from the UIL for a foreign-exchange student. It’s just your assumption they’re going back to their home country. It’s my understanding that some of his family moved here, and he stayed for his senior year.”
When the student-athlete enrolled at Guyer in 2012, he did so as a junior because his credits from his home country did not all transfer.
“The rightful assumption is when someone’s enrolled as a junior, he has another year of eligibility,” Purcell said. “Unfortunately, everything just lined up in an unprecedented situation that we’ve never dealt with before. We’re just fortunate we found it at this time. It’d be worse if it was three rounds deep in the playoffs. I don’t know if anyone’s to blame, it’s just a tragedy of technical errors.”
Guyer head coach John Walsh declined to comment on the matter but referred to a release sent by the Denton ISD athletic department, which described in detail the discovery of the infractions and the immediate reporting to the UIL and the district executive committee.
The student-athlete also played tennis for Guyer and recently played in a district team tennis match against Trophy Club Nelson. His victories in the match were forfeited, but Guyer still had enough points to win the match against the Bobcats.
Purcell said he is thankful the mistake was discovered and reported when it was but feels bad for the student, who is no longer a foreign-exchange student and is just a regular member of the Guyer student body.
“I feel really badly for the young man,” Purcell said. “I know he wanted to finish this year with the team, but it’s just not going to happen. It’s unfortunate.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872 and via Twitter at @aboedeker.