Donovan Catholic Releases Statement Regarding Football Team’s Use of Ineligible Player
Donovan Catholic High School has released a statement regarding the NJSIAA's decision to have the Griffins forfeit their three wins earned so far this season due to the use of an ineligible player.
The Griffins improved to 3-1 on the field this past Saturday with a 35-0 victory over Colts Neck. On Monday morning, the NJSIAA ruled that Donovan must forfeit that victory along with a 54-13 win over Archbishop Stepinac (NYC) and a 34-13 win over Toms River North.
The statement below was provided by Donovan Catholic Principal Dr. Edward Gere and Athletic Director Tom Moriau.
"Recently, the NJSIAA informed Donovan Catholic that they were to forfeit several football games due to using an allegedly ineligible player.
Donovan Catholic accepted a transfer student based on the academic records we received from the Charter School he was enrolled in during the 2020-2021 school year. Last year, the student was a freshman and in the 9th grade. Since this Charter School does not offer a 10th grade, the student could not remain at the school and he was forced to transfer out in order to continue his education. Further complicating the issue is the fact that the Charter School does not offer a football program, and there was no documentation from the sending school that indicated the student participated in a football program.
The Athletic Administration at Donovan Catholic adhered to the NJSIAA procedures to establish player eligibility for transfer students and proper paperwork was filed. However, due to our Administrative error, the student was permitted to participate in Junior Varsity and to a limited extent Varsity games without having received the proper determination from the NJSIAA. It is unfortunate that an Administrative oversight has caused this situation and we deeply regret our mistake.
Donovan Catholic is committed to working with the NJSIAA to ensure that this oversight will not occur in the future and will continue to attempt to make a difference and have a positive impact on our students and in our community."
Donovan Catholic is still the No. 3 ranked team in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 and was the No 13th ranked team in the state by NJ.com.
The Griffins are now 0-4, which will severely impact where they qualify for the NJSIAA state playoffs and their placement in the Shore Conference postseason pods. As of the most recent update (7:16 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 26) on Gridiron New Jersey (gridironnewjersey.com), Donovan's United Power Ranking was 5.4, placing the Griffins fifth in the Non-Public A section behind Bergen Catholic, St. Peter's Prep, St. Augustine, and Seton Hall Prep. That number will drastically change after the forfeits are accounted for.
They were in second place behind Rumson in the Shore Conference American Division but now fall into last place because of the forfeits.
Donovan plays at St. John Vianney (2-2) on Friday night and also has regular-season games remaining against No. 4 Wall and Rahway.