Mayor weighs in on Spanish Fort boys, girls being ineligible for state soccer playoffs

Spanish Fort Mayor Mike McMillan responded Thursday morning to news that the city’s boys’ and girls’ high school football teams will not play in the Class 6A postseason this week.

“It’s a very unfortunate situation that our kids aren’t allowed to play in the playoffs,” McMillan told AL.com.

Both Toro teams were eliminated from the playoffs due to a qualifying issue in a week-long rollercoaster ride before this weekend’s first round.

On Tuesday, Baldwin County Circuit Judge Scott P. Taylor issued an injunction that could have allowed the boys’ soccer team to compete. However, Baldwin County Superintendent Eddie Tyler later in the day emailed Alabama High School Athletic Association executive director Alvin Briggs, saying the Spanish Fort boys would follow the AHSAA’s decision and not play . That letter was included in a response from AHSAA attorneys to get the restraining order lifted.

The situation of the Spanish fort girls developed on Wednesday and they were also declared ineligible.

Here are the Tier 6A playoff games as they currently stand for territory teams not including the Toros:

Boys:

Gulf Shores (5-7-2) at McGill-Toolen Catholic (16-8-0) today at 6 p.m

St. Paul’s Episcopal (10-6-1) at Robertsdale (12-5-1), 5:30 p.m., Saturday

Girl:

Baldwin County at McGill-Toolen Catholic (12-4-1), 5 p.m. Friday

St. Paul’s Episcopal at Gulf Shores, Friday, 5:30 p.m

TIED TOGETHER: Complete playoff bracket

Mobile attorney David Allen filed a complaint against Briggs on Sunday. The lawsuit, on behalf of parent Kerry DeFelippo and not Spanish Fort High School, alleged son Anthony DeFelippo was declared ineligible this week after he was originally declared eligible by an AHSAA employee via email last month .

The lawsuit sought an injunction that reinstated DeFelippo’s eligibility and allowed Spanish Fort to play in the postseason. Taylor granted that stay without a hearing Tuesday morning. A court date in the case is scheduled for Tuesday, but that will obviously be after the first round of the playoffs.

Tyler sent a letter to Spanish Fort’s parents late Wednesday, stating he had made a verbal appeal to Briggs on the matter, but said the AHSAA is “very confident in the position that they have taken and can.” do not reconsider under their current rules”.

Here’s Tyler’s full summary of the situation from his perspective:

Over the past few days, our Spanish Fort High School sports program has been grappling with some very unfortunate news. The Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) has ruled that both the boys’ and girls’ varsity football teams are not eligible to participate in the state playoffs. Upon learning yesterday of the AHSAA’s decision regarding the boys’ varsity team, I spoke to the AHSAA to appeal the AHSAA’s decision. My letter to AHSAA yesterday, stating that we would respect AHSAA’s finding and decision, followed that conversation. After receiving information about the girls’ varsity soccer team, I called the AHSAA again to appeal for them to reverse the decision. Unfortunately, the AHSAA’s decision is final.

AHSAA is the governing body that regulates all middle school and high school programs in Alabama. In this particular case, the eligibility decision rests with a family with players on both the girls’ and boys’ teams who relocated from another state. Under AHSAA rules, the entire family must have relocated from an out-of-state location to an in-state location at the same time. Because the family did not all move at the same time, AHSAA has determined that all of the children in this family are ineligible for the varsity competition. Because these children competed during the regular season, each of those games is forfeited under AHSAA rules.

Aware of the move from out of state, we engaged AHSAA earlier in the season to inquire about this particular concern. We were advised by AHSAA that the male student was eligible. At some point during the season, AHSAA received a complaint from a third party, and upon further investigation, AHSAA found additional information that it believed rendered all children in the family ineligible. After learning about this decision, it was made clear to us that all games would be forfeited and the system would face significant fines should we refuse to comply with their decisions.

This is a very unfortunate situation. My heart aches for the dozens of families and children who attended and participated in the season in full anticipation of being part of the state championship process. I have expressed my feelings to the AHSAA administration by asking them to review our calling situation. They feel very confident in the position they have taken and cannot revisit it under their current rules.

Leave a Comment