Arlington Martin’s football forfeits overturned by UIL

Posted Tuesday, Nov. 05, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
UIL hearing timeline Here’s a timeline of tweets of Tuesday’s UIL hearing in Austin of Arlington Martin’s appeal of its forfeiting three District 3-5A victories: 10:03 UIL State Executive Committee under way. It will hear Arlington Martin’s appeal after Martin forfeited three wins last month. 10:07 Arlington High principal Jennifer Young and football coach Scott Peach now testifying at the UIL meeting. 10:15 Peach acknowledges falsifying info on the PAPF (Previous Athletic Participation Form) he filled out for player who transferred to Martin. 10:19 Peach still believes player didn’t transfer for athletic purposes: “I saw it as a life decision that I would make as the parent of my child.” 10:21 Peach said player had problems but only recently became “cancer to the team.” Said kicking him off team “one of hardest decisions” he’s ever made. 10:23 Arlington High principal Jennifer Young: “I never batted an eye thinking this would jepordize Martin HS or we’d be sitting in this meeting.” 10:24 Arlington Martin principal Marlene Roddy and football coach Bob Wager now testifying at the UIL State Executive meeting. 10:32 Wager recalling conversation with Peach about player in question: “We never spoke about his talents on the football field.” 10:33 Wager said Baker “was a rotational” player who played about one-third of the time. 10:39 Wager says reasons why player was transferring to Martin never discussed with Peach. But they were discussed with player and his mother. 10:46 Wager: “I was aware of the issues [the player] had. Coach Peach and I discussed those issues at length.” 10:48 Arlington assistant superintendent Michael Hill now testifying. 11:29 Arlington Martin principal Marlene Roddy and coach Bob Wager testifying again. 11:30 Wager: “I have 60 players I look in the eye every day … My responsibility is to do my due diligence w/regards to eligibility of my players.” 11:39 UIL committee making final comments before making ruling on Arlington Martin’s appeal of forfeiture of 3 games last month. 11:43 Arlington Martin’s forfeiture of 3 wins last month has been lifted. Appeal was successful, 2-1. Martin’s record now 7-2, 5-1.

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Instead of fighting for a football playoff spot, Arlington Martin will be playing for the District 3-5A championship when it faces Arlington Bowie on Thursday night.

Martin, which recently forfeited three victories because a player’s eligibility was in question, won its appeal Tuesday morning as the UIL State Executive Committee ruled 2-1 in its favor.

So instead of going into Thursday’s game with a record of 4-5 and 2-4 in 3-5A, Martin is 7-2 and 5-1. The Warriors have already clinched a playoff spot and can secure the district title with a victory over Bowie (7-2, 5-1).

On Oct. 30, Martin had forfeited victories against Weatherford, Fort Worth Paschal and North Crowley because the District 3-5A executive committee ruled that an ineligible player, senior wide receiver Isaiah Baker, had participated in those games.

Baker transferred from Arlington High to Martin at midseason and an inaccurate Previous Athletic Participation Form, or PAPF, was sent from Arlington High to Martin, creating the confusion about Baker’s eligibility, officials said. Questions apparently arose about whether Baker was transferring for athletic reasons, which is a violation of UIL rules.

Besides ruling Baker ineligible, the executive committee reprimanded Arlington High coach Scott Peach for filing an inaccurate form and Martin coach Bob Wager for failing to report the inaccurate information. Both Peach and Arlington High principal Jennifer Young acknowledged wrongdoing in falsifying information on Baker’s transfer form.

Peach had dismissed Baker from the team before Baker enrolled at Martin. Peach testified that he felt it was important for Baker to be allowed to play football at another school because of his personal life.

“I saw it as a life decision that I would make as a parent if it was my child,” Peach said of Baker’s dismissal. “He had problems before, but had not been a cancer to the team. That night, [when the decision was made to dismiss him], he had become a cancer to the entire football team.”

Wager testified that he did not have lengthy discussions with Peach about why Baker was transferring, but that he did sit down with Baker and his mother to discuss the issues involved.

Wager said it was apparent that Baker “needed football. He needed to be in the program.”

Arlington High School principal Jennifer Young never thought the matter would have to be resolved at the state level.

“I never batted an eye thinking this would jeopardize Martin High School or that we’d be sitting in this meeting,” Young said. “I know what we did was wrong and we should have filled out the form truthfully from the get-go.”

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