The Minnesota State High School League lowered the boom on soccer power Prairie Seeds Academy late this afternoon for last week's brawl in the game that sent them to the state tournament.
There'll be no state tournament for the Prairie Seeds squad, but not because of the brawl. The MSHSL uncovered something else during its investigation.
Here's the statement from the MSHSL:
Prairie Seeds Academy disqualified from state soccer tournament
Use of an ineligible player during the entire 2012 soccer season has led the Minnesota State High School League to disqualify Prairie Seeds Academy from the State Class A Boys' Soccer Tournament.
During its investigation of an altercation that broke out following the Section 5A championship soccer match between Prairie Seeds Academy of Brooklyn Park and Totino-Grace of Fridley, the League received information that questioned the eligibility of a Prairie Seeds Academy player who was involved in the post-game altercation.
Records showed that the student attended a different school during the 2011-12 school year and transferred to Prairie Seeds Academy this fall. A Student Transfer Online Form was never initiated by Prairie Seeds Academy. Thus, the student was never eligible to participate in varsity soccer, and per League Bylaw 304--Ineligible Player, the game and honors shall be forfeited.
Prairie Seeds Academy defeated Totino-Grace 2-1 on Oct. 18 to advance to this week's quarterfinals. Prairie Seeds Academy was seeded No. 2 by the qualifying team coaches and Marshall School of Duluth was randomly selected to face them this Friday, Oct. 26. Due to the disqualification, Marshall School will advance to next week's semifinal at the Metrodome. Totino-Grace will not replace Prairie Seeds Academy because of the uncertainty of which team may have advanced earlier in the section tournament had Prairie Seeds Academy not played.
"The Minnesota State High School League Board of Directors and League staff are extremely disappointed by the action of individuals immediately following, and connected directly to, the Oct. 18, 2012, Section 5A Championship Soccer Game held at Maple Grove High School," said League Executive Director Dave Stead. "Such behavior is not condoned and should never be a part of any high school game or school activity."
The constitution of the League provides that "... member school(s) will abide by and enforce the Articles of Incorporation, Constitution, Bylaws and Regulations of the League." Both Prairie Seeds Academy and Totino-Grace have submitted 2012-2013 Resolution for Membership forms to the League office.
The constitution of the League further provides that the League Board of Directors:
"... has general supervision over all interscholastic contests between members of the League and shall make arrangements for and have full charge of all state tournaments and state interscholastic meets.
"It shall also exercise authority over all eligibility problems and cases which are not specifically provided for.
"It shall have control of all sub region, region and section contests, but each region committee is charged with their immediate management.
"It shall provide penalties for violations of the bylaws of the League when they are not specific in the Constitution and/or Activity Bylaws.
"It shall interpret all bylaws and provisions set forth in this Constitution, the Activity Bylaws and other bylaws and regulations of the League. The Board may delegate this responsibility to the executive director for periods between meetings."
On Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, members of the League staff and the coaches and administrative representatives from Prairie Seeds Academy and Totino-Grace High School met in the League office to review and discuss the facts surrounding the altercation that occurred in the vicinity of the Totino-Grace team bench with no time remaining on the clock at the conclusion of the Oct. 18, 2012, Section 5A Championship Soccer Game.
Following a thorough, frame-by-frame review of video that was provided to the League by Channel 12 of Northwest Community Television, Brooklyn Park, League staff and the coaches and administrative representatives from both schools agreed that six players from each school had been involved in the altercation in varying degrees.
Five players were determined to have thrown punches at or kicked players or coaches from the opposing team, and five players were determined to have been involved to a lesser degree. It was also agreed that two players identified in the video were not involved in the altercation.
League staff then reviewed the powers and duties of the League Board of Directors, the most current League Official Handbook and the current NFHS Soccer Rules Book. Then League staff consulted individually with members of the League Board of Directors Executive Committee, which authorized the League executive director to take the following action:
Five players will be ineligible for a minimum period of four weeks;
Five other players will be ineligible for one game;
Two players will have no penalty.
In addition, the full League Board of Directors will review the entire incident when they meet in regular session on Dec. 6, 2012. Additional action may be taken at that time as determined by the Board.
Okay, the league didn't really do anything, but they do say they are "extremely disappointed". That'll teach them.
This is a totally unacceptable response from MSHSL. Prairie Seeds coach's statements dodge all responsibility for his players violent attacks but no recourse by MSHSL. Apparently MSHSL considers violent assault Ok. That's not acceptable! There needs to be MSHSL accountability against violent assaults!!!
As a former MSHSL HS soccer ref, a couple of things really stand out to me:
First, the only apparent reason they discovered the ineligible player was due to the more thorough review of the match as a result of the altercation. Due diligence needs to be done by the league and each school at the beginning of the season to determine proper eligibility for each participant in each sport--not just soccer. Coaches and administrators need to be held accountable for that aspect. Penalties should be sufficiently nasty that no school wants to be at the receiving end for fielding any ineligible participant(s).
If the match had ended in a "normal" manner, the odds were probably in favor of the young man in question going on to participate in the state tournament.
Secondly, at this age and skill level, the chances are good that many of these young men already know each other from club soccer, camps, clinics, ODP, etc. The chances are also good that the refs know the coaches and most of the players. The referee assignors and the referees themselves should have known up front that this match had the potential to get out of hand. Maybe they did and it blew up on them regardless.
My questions are, "What if they don't discover this ineligible player? Then what decision do they make?" I think all schools and coaches in the state need to know what would have happened. Then they can weigh the need to have a reserve player start a fight with an opposing teams star to win a game and still have your team advance in tournament competition. Reminds me of a scene from the movie "Fast Break".
I noticed that a former player from PS(Carlos) plays for the Mn Kings with a birth year of 1988. That makes him 22 yrs old in the championship game two years ago. It appears that PS feels the eligibility rules don't apply to them.
Hello Mr. Steve Brown, you must enjoy living in the past. As I remember the outcome of the Carlos situation was satisfied with proper documentation presented to the so called prestigious MSHSL board, as far as for the now defunct Mn Kings, the birth year was posted carelessly by the team personal, and yes the eligibility rules do apply to PSA, because if they didn't, MSHSL would have not permitted him to participate in the state final.
as you have finished reading this, you will still be under the anti PSA mentality probably, and that is so very sad on your part.
Enjoy your dislike of PSA.
I just heard that PSA is trying to get a court order to play in the final.
This is what MSHSL gets for not suspending players and coachs