An Alabama soccer program primed for a run in the Class 6A state playoffs will instead stay home, paying the price for a participation violation that will end a promising season prematurely.
As reported by the Cullman Times, Cullman High was punished with a disqualification from the Class 6A state playoffs due to a violation of the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s (AHSAA) outside participation rules. The rule, which is designed to keep student athletes from overworking themselves in any given period, forbids a student athletes from participating with another program (AAU, etc.) in any given sport during that sport’s scheduled regular season.
Oxford, which Cullman knocked out of the 6A tournament with a 2-1 win, will instead be reinstated in the bracket in Cullman’s place.
It was not immediately clear which Cullman player had violated the restriction in 2018, and with which other program. And whether the violation included a game or practice with another program.
Regardless of the fine print details, it was enough to kick Cullman out of a tournament that it won in 2016 and finished runner up in during 2017.
“We are deeply disappointed and saddened for our players, families and coaches,” Cullman Principal Kim Hall said in a statement disseminated by the Times.
Hall isn’t alone. Alabama soccer fans will be upset that they won’t get another look at a true state title contender. The only people who will be happy about the ban? The other top ranked teams in the state’s Class 6A tournament.