SIMMONS: It’s time to talk turkey when it comes to out-of-city students

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Residency requirements fall under the purview of bureaucrats and school principals — and they need to step up their game, as the timeline in the Wilson case seemingly proves.

On Oct. 14, police in Prince George’s County arrested a 17-year-old suspect in the armed robberies of two University of Maryland students. He was arrested in his Greenbelt home.

On Nov. 10, Wilson beat Anacostia in the playoffs, and late last week school officials confirmed that the 17-year-old had played for Wilson and told the school it must forfeit its 8-3 record.

“After reviewing tapes of games, Wilson High School administration and coaches determined this player played in two league games,” according to a D.C. Public Schools statement released Sunday morning. “Due to the player’s ineligibility, Wilson will have to forfeit the games when this player was on the field, including two league games. The forfeiture of two league games makes them ineligible for the playoffs and the Turkey Bowl.

“While DCPS regrets any confusion or frustration this may cause, it is important to ensure the integrity and fairness of the game.”

That’s hardly compensation for Wilson, whose student body and alumni had been overjoyed since Nov. 10, when the Tigers beat Anacostia’s Indians 40-20 and ended its drought for a championship spot.

School officials need to get this residency thing right. After all, residency affects far more than athletic programs. It also impacts local and federal funding, truancy and integrity.

Students do not see a sense of fair play.

Game on: Wilson’s forfeiture means it will be the mayor’s Dunbar Crimson Tide against my Anacostia Indians at Eastern High on Thanksgiving Day.

Good luck to us and a small measure of the same to Mr. Mayor.

Deborah Simmons can be reached at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

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