The Topeka (Kan.) football team must forfeit its 2017 season after a police officer found one of its players was living in a home outside the school’s attendance boundary.
Jacqez Barksdale, a member of the 2017 team that finished 8-2, had transferred from Topeka’s Highland Park prior to this school year. According to what Kansas State High School Activities Association executive director Gary Musselman told Topeka’s KSNT, Barksdale was ineligible to play for Topeka due to where he was living.
The school will forfeit all eight wins as well as its share of the Centennial League championship.
Per what Musselman told KSNT, Barksdale’s father, Tony, had made a change of residence for him and the transfer to Topeka was processed normally, but the student was not living with his father. A school resource officer discovered this to be the case when checking on eligibility requirements for Jacqez’s brother, Jovan.
Musselman told KSNT that the KSHSAA board held a nearly six hour hearing Wednesday to determine the outcome of the eligibility problem. According to the Topeka Capital-Journal, the executive board made the final decision on Barksdale’s eligibility in a 7-0 vote that he played all 10 football games while he was ineligible and that the school should forfeit its season.
Veteran Topeka head coach Walt Alexander took exception to the ruling.
“I’ve been a head coach in this state for 28 years, 12 of them here at Topeka High, and we’ve never, ever played an ineligible player,″ Alexander told the Capital-Journal. “I know the rules and I would never do that and never have done it. I’ve coached too long and I wouldn’t hurt our kids doing that. I’m not stupid.
“The young man in question was approved to be eligible to play football by demographics in (USD) 501, which is where they all go (when transferring). He was signed off and approved by Topeka High’s administration, (Highland Park’s) administration and by the general director of activities (for 501). All the paper work was approved, it was proper and sent to KSHSAA and they approved it.″
The Capital-Journal reported that Tony Barksdale testified at Wednesday’s hearing, saying he did make a bona fide move to the Topeka High district, with a rental agreement, receipts and utility bills being entered into evidence.
According to the Capital-Journal, Tony Barksdale said he felt like he did everything he was supposed to do to allow Jacqez to transfer.
“I know I did,” Barksdale said.
Jacqez Barksdale is still allowed to participate in sports at Topeka, but only after the state-required 18 weeks he must sit out as someone who transferred to a school outside the attendance area.
Next fall, according to KSNT, Jacqez Barksdale will be required to sit out at least two football games and eight other sporting events in order to play in his senior football season. He recently quit the basketball team as the situation came to light.
“No one at the activities association takes any pleasure in these very unfortunate situations,” Musselman told KSNT. “No one wants to do anything to cause a young person to miss opportunities.”