East Ridge High School will forfeit conference and section football titles won in the last two seasons because one of its players was ineligible.
The player involved “never actually lived at the residence that was listed on the paperwork provided by the family as part of the required documentation of residence,’’ according to a statement from by Mike Johnson, assistant superintendent of the South Washington County School District.
The school disclosed the information Thursday in a statement sent via e-mail to staff and parents.
The statement did not identify the player beyond saying it was someone who played varsity football in the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
The statement said the matter came to the district’s attention earlier this year. A district investigation ensued, which revealed that the student was ineligible to play for East Ridge according to Minnesota State High School League rules.
East Ridge will forfeit its 2013 Suburban East Conference football championship, as well as its 2014 Region Four football state tournament berth. The league’s sanction for an ineligible athlete requires the school to forfeit every game in which the ineligible student played.
“This is a very disappointing situation for the students of East Ridge High School,’’ Johnson said in the statement. “When this was brought to our attention, we immediately corrected what we could and are working through all resolutions required by the Minnesota State High School League.”
Johnson said the district “is addressing the findings of its internal investigation regarding the participation in varsity athletics by a non-resident student. The district continues to consult with the MSHSL to ensure appropriate compliance in this situation and in the future.’’
East Ridge football coach Mike Pendino said he learned of the district investigation “a couple of weeks ago’’ from the school’s athletic director. He called the matter “a shame for the kids, it’s a shame for the school, it’s a shame for everybody involved.’’
Pendino said he and his coaches “have no say on who can come into East Ridge,’’ emphasizing that approval is determined by the school district.
“All we can do is lead our students and our student-athletes to the district office to fill out the paperwork,’’ he said.
East Ridge, which opened in 2009, was among the top-ranked teams in Class 6A football during the last two seasons.