The D.C. State Athletic Association on Tuesday upheld a decision to bar Woodrow Wilson High School's football team from the Turkey Bowl on Thursday for using an ineligible player in the run-up to the public school system's championship game, citing evidence the student used Metro to commute to school from Maryland and held a driver's license from the Old Line State.
Anacostia High School stepped in to take on the reigning champs, Dunbar High School, in the annual fall classic, despite losing 40-20 to Wilson in their last game.
The DCSAA's Athletic Appeals Panel held an expedited meeting on Tuesday after Wilson decided to appeal the D.C. Public Schools' decision to bar them from the game — even though schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson made it clear that her decision was final as she celebrated with players from Anacostia and Dunbar at a pre-game luncheon on Monday at the Verizon Center.
School officials took a closer look at Wilson player Nico Jaleel Robinson, 17, after he was arrested at his home in Greenbelt last month in connection with a series of robberies in College Park, a source familiar with the situation said. The teen, whose residence makes him ineligible for sports in D.C. Public Schools, played in two league games.
The panel's decision on Tuesday was based on the student's Maryland driver's license, a lease and a Prince George's County Police report that "listed a week's worth of monitored activity," according to a statement from the D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education.
The incident shone a light on residency fraud in D.C. athletic programs and its schools in general, a recurring problem that city and school officials are trying to fight through legislation, litigation and swift action against violators.
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