WESTWOOD – When the Westwood Patriots took the field this season, the whole squad had high expectations. The goal, like any local high school football team was to make the playoffs.
That goal has now been taken from them.
Late last month, The NICE school district was informed that it’s team had failed to meet an MHSAA transfer regulation when a player was allowed to take the field after a recent transfer from Ishpeming High School. After the error was reported, the disrict reported the issue at hand to the MHSAA and began the process of appeal.
Earlier this week, the district found out the MHSAA’s ruling on the situation.
Westwood High School’s request for a waiver of a transfer regulation and the requirement of forfeiture for playing an ineligible student was denied through the appeals process as outlined by the Michigan High School Athletic Association,” stated the NICE school District in a Press Release earlier this week. “The football teams first three victories will be forfeited to Gwinn, Houghton, and Munising respectively. The football team has been outstanding in its unity and compassion for the individual student involved. It is heartening to see the outpouring of concern and support for our athletes, who continue to be tremendous ambassadors for our school district.
Because the player ineligible was not suited for last weekend’s game against the Inland Lakes Bulldogs, The Patriots will not be forced to forfeit their most recent win. This puts the Patriots at 1-5 on the season and automatically ineligible for the playoffs.
That doesn’t mean that this team will give up on the season. Being fortunate enough to cover this team the past season, there is no doubt that this bunch of kids will fight for every yard for the remainder of the season. At a personal level for fans and family members, it will be imperative as fans to remember that this isn’t any kids fault. We as fans must respect that, and remember that no matter what, high school athletics is about more than just playing on the field.
It’s what these kids learn from all the experiences they face. Even if it’s out of their control.
(Joe Dexter is the play-by-play voice for the Westwood Patriots. Make sure you catch the Patriots all season long on 103.3 WFXD.)