Severna Park's football team has been on a roller coaster the past couple of weeks, but the latest turn has resulted in a screeching halt.
Coach Andy Borland's Falcons have gone from 5-3 to 6-2 and back to 5-3 thanks to a controversial ruling by a Prince George's County Circuit Court judge on Friday. At last gavel, the Falcons' playoff hopes apparently have ended.
After being handed a forfeit because of an ineligible player at High Point, the Falcons were stripped of the win after the judge ruled that the player was indeed ineligible but that there would be no forfeit. The player sought a temporary injunction that would have allowed him to play the rest of the season.
The judge terminated the player's season but said that High Point had acted in good faith and that the school should not be penalized. The player, running back Wesley Greene, is a fifth-year senior who was attempting to play a fourth season of football, which is a violation of state rules.
High Point goes from 4-3 to 5-2 and is back in the playoff picture.
"I can't believe it, and that about ends our playoff hopes," Borland said Saturday morning. "This is the first I've heard of it [the judge's ruling]."
According to the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA), student-athletes have four years to complete four years of eligibility "in any one sport" if the school has a ninth grade.
Greene exhausted his eligibility by playing football from 10th through 12th grade at Walt Whitman High in Montgomery County.
After transferring to Winston Churchill, also in Montgomery, for the final semester of 1991-92, Greene came up one credit short of graduation. When Churchill officials told him he was ineligible to play this fall, he transferred to High Point under the Muslim name of Wesley Rahman. High Point officials asked Prince George's to rule on Rahman and were told he was eligible.
In the season opener, a 14-0 victory over Severna Park, Rahman carried 23 times for 195 yards and two touchdowns.
"The second week of the season, High Point turned themselves in and asked us to rule on it," said Ned Sparks, executive secretary of the MPSSAA who declared Greene ineligible and a forfeit for Severna Park.
High Point lost its second game to Laurel, 13-2, and while under investigation, Greene sat out the next three games before receiving a court injunction that allowed him to play two more games.
"We learned that he had not legally changed his name from Green to the Muslim name Rahman, and by our rules, he had no eligibility left," said Sparks.