Quitman players' eligibility under scrutiny
Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer

Oct. 4, 2004 - The District 17-2A football standings could be shaken up Wednesday morning when an executive district committee meeting will be held at the Grand Saline Middle School Library.

The committee will meet at 9 a.m. to discuss an investigation made by the Quitman Independent School District into allegations that one or two of its varsity football players and/or their parents may not live within the QISD borders.

If the allegations are verified, Quitman (6-0 on the season) could be forced to forfeit all of the games in which the player(s) participated in.

Two unsigned letters were sent to all District 17-2A school superintendents informing them of the eligibility issues.

According to a written statement by Bill Travis, superintendent at QISD, he believed the issue was not with the students residing in the district, but whether their parents live within the Quitman school district.

Grand Saline athletic director and 17-2A athletic chairman Greg Carpenter said he did receive notice that a meeting would be taking place and that the Bulldogs sent a letter to the district superintendents after a allegation was made to the UIL complaint division two weeks ago.

According to a written letter, Travis confirmed he has been in talks with Ed Stidham at the University Interscholastic League Complaint Office on two occasions concerning this matter and requested the meeting in an attempt to clear the allegations.

According to Como-Pickton superintendent Bryan Neal, a request was made by Quitman regarding either a residential or other eligibility standard set by the UIL.

"A district meeting has been scheduled to discuss the students in question as to past and present eligibility at the school," Neal said Monday morning.

Neal will not be at the meeting due to a prior commitment, but a representative for Como-Pickton would be at the meeting in his place.

QISD said it has provided written statements from the parents that state they live within the district and the school has called each person and verified the information.

QISD has also received documentation from property owners, utility companies and employers of each family in question.

According to Neal, Wednesday's meeting is an open meeting, meaning that anybody can attend and a decision could be made that day regarding the residential eligibility of the two students in question. If found in violation of the eligibility standards, Quitman could appeal to the UIL for a final ruling.

The district standings have Quitman undefeated at 6-0 overall and 2-0 in district play after Friday night's 42-7 win of the CPHS Eagles, while C-P is 5-1 overall and 1-1 in district action.

The remaining teams in the district are Edgewood at 5-1 overall and 2-0 in district, Grand Saline at 2-4 overall and 1-1 in district, Lone Oak at 1-4 and 0-1 in district. Alba-Golden, which is Como's opponent Friday night, sits at 0-5, and 0-1 in district, and Caddo Mills is 1-5 overall and 1-2 in district play.

An attempt was made to reach GSISD Superintendent Gerald Gilbert, the chairman of the executive committee, but he was out of town and unavailable for comment.

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