The No. 2 Poly boys basketball team has to forfeit Wednesday’s season opener at fellow Baltimore City foe Digital Harbor due to an illegal practice that took place over the summer.
Poly eight-year coach Sam Brand defended his program Wednesday and said he was disappointed by the ruling.
“We strive to provide the maximum amount of support year round for our student athletes on and off the court,” he said in a text message. “During the quest, we were accused of practicing by someone within our athletic department while most of our team was not present and no basketball was played. We have never committed or even been formerly accused of any out of season violation until this one and are disappointed at the ruling.
“It is my opinion that taking the game from students that weren’t involved in the violation in any way does not align with our schools or system’s mission of serving students first. The mistake was made by me, so I don’t agree with the group being penalized but have no choice to accept it and move forward with positivity.”
Poly athletic director Phil Thompson confirmed the Engineers only had to forfeit their first game, but didn’t comment further.
Tiffany Byrd, coordinator of athletics for Baltimore City, could not be reached for comment.
Poly went 22-6 last season and won their second straight Class 3A state title and second Baltimore City Division I crown in three years.
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With all Maryland state government offices closed on Wednesday to honor of former President George H.W. Bush, the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association also was unavailable to comment.