IHSAA could penalize Roosevelt boys over player's residency

IHSAA could penalize Roosevelt boys over player's residency

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IHSAA could penalize Roosevelt boys over player's residency

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Less than a year removed from a celebrated state tournament appearance, the Des Moines Roosevelt boys’ basketball team’s season is in jeopardy after a Des Moines Register story sparked an investigation into a student-athlete’s residency.

Junior Daniel Luckett left Southeast Polk to enroll at Roosevelt this school year. At issue is whether Luckett used an in-district Des Moines address while continuing to live in Altoona.

Roosevelt sent its available information to the Iowa High School Athletic Association on Monday. If Roosevelt is found to have knowingly used an ineligible player, penalties from the IHSAA could range from no penalty to forfeiting every contest the player participated in.

“Administratively, we have looked into the matter as thoroughly as possible,” Roosevelt activities administrator Kelley Hood said. “We will wait for a response from the IHSAA to determine our next course of action, if one needs to be taken.”

Luckett arrived at Roosevelt in the fall and immediately began playing football. He was recorded as having moved into the Des Moines school district, avoiding the 90-day ineligibility period that accompanies general transfers or open enrollments as required by the IHSAA. Hood would not comment further.

The move caught public attention after a Feb. 4 story in the Register entitled “Roosevelt’s key additions arriving from all angles” documented Luckett’s daily commute.

“I live in Altoona,” Luckett said in a previously unpublished portion of the Feb. 2 interview. “It’s all right, except for when it snows, then it’s kind of a hassle getting to school sometimes. I mean, I made the decision, and I wanted to be here, and I wanted to help this team.”

IHSAA assistant executive director Todd Tharp said Roosevelt began an internal investigation after the story was released.

“We have received an inquiry from Roosevelt in regards to a potential eligibility issue with a student-athlete on the basketball team after some comments made in your paper,” Tharp wrote in an email.

Roosevelt’s report will inform the IHSAA on any impending consequences. A decision on the findings is expected soon with Class 4-A postseason pairings slated to be released this week.

The Roughriders, who last year advanced to the state tournament for the first time since 1982, have a 10-6 record overall and are 7-3 in the Metro Conference. It’s possible they could be 0-16 overnight.

“There are options of forfeiting contests if it is determined they were aware of this and did not report it,” Tharp said. “Or there are options of requiring the student to sit 90 school days now and not forfeiting, based on what we hear from the school.”

Any Roosevelt losses would affect the records of all the teams on its schedule, and alter postseason matchups.

“They realize the time restraints involved with substates being released this week and possible implications if things are not resolved in a timely manner,” Tharp said.

Luckett is a 6-foot-1 starter, averaging 12.9 points and 5.4 rebounds.

“I’m glad that I left and got an opportunity to be a part of this,” Luckett said in the Feb. 4 story.

IHSAA information director Bud Legg said schools have two weeks to appeal decisions.

Roosevelt is scheduled to begin substate play Feb. 24.

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IHSAA could penalize Roosevelt boys over player's residency
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