An undefeated Tennessee Valley high school football team won't get to go to the playoffs this year.
This comes after one of their players was ruled ineligible by the Tenneessee Secondary School Athletic Association. The coach said weeks ago the association sent the team a letter telling him this player was OK to take the field, but after 5 more consectuive wins they got another notice that he wasn't.
"Our young men have gone through a tragic time with the loss of their teammate Tate Tuten and then now to have their season taken away from them has been a devastating time for them," said Coach Kenny Morson.
This year Morsen and his players were marching toward state with their teammate Tate Tuten in mind.
"Its been extremely hard," said Morson.
At Tuesday's meeting Morson and Fayetteville City School's lawyer appealed a ruling made by the association that stated one of their players was ineligable and subsequently every win he particpated in was taken away. He learned their appeal had been denied. A call he says shouldn't have happened.
"There was never any intent to play an ineligible player," said Morson.
Morson says earlier in the football season the athletic association asked about the player violating one of the residency rules. After that investigation Morson says, and the association confirmed to WAAY31, Fayetteville High got a letter stating the student was eligable to play.
"We were going to sit him until we got clearance from them," said Morson.
Weeks later the atheltic association got another complaint about a different, but similar, rule in their bylaws. We asked them who filed the complaint, but they said they couldn't tell me. They told us they do get complaints frequently, but only look into ones that are not anonymous. They reached out again and after an investigation found the player lives outside of the bus route, which makes him ineligable to play for the Tigers.
We read through the bylaws and found where that is explained. Its a rule Morson says has been there for years, but after the original letter letting him know his player was OK to take the field he believed he was eligible.
"He moved into our territory of which we thought and still to this day believe that we've done everything right, he did everything right," said Morson.
After learning about that letter we called the association again to find out why the team originally got the green light and what happened to get it taken away. They said during the first investigation bus routes weren't specially asked about and the district told them the player was within the area he should've been in.
"Knowing they put their heart and soul into this season and being 10 and 0 and know you can't continue on its been a hard pill to swallow," said Morson.
The team lost the wins from 6 games. Coach wouldn't tell me who the player is to protect his privacy, but says the team is moving forward with perspective.
"A loss of a teammate is a whole lot worse so they've faced a tremendous amount of adversity this year....Nobody can take 10 and 0 from them. They won it on the field, the surrounding teams know that as well and we're just proud of these young men and what they accomplished this year."
The coach said this years team has 20 seniors that lost their chance to go to the playoffs.