Blue Devils face forfeitures

Published 4:53 pm Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Pearl River Central’s Boys basketball team is in the midst of one of its best seasons on the hardwood in a decade.

The Blue Devils, however, face the possibility of having to forfeit many, if not all of their 15 wins after having a player ruled ineligible on Monday by the Mississippi High School Activities Association.

Christian Travis, a reserve sophomore guard, was ruled ineligible to play for the rest of the season after PRC self-reported the possibility he may have not followed proper transfer requirements set forth by the MHSAA.

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Travis played on the junior varsity for Picayune as a freshman, before transferring to PRC this year.

Travis lives in the PRC school district, but chose to attend Picayune last season and was allowed to do so because his step-mother teaches in the Picayune School District.

MHSAA  policies require that in order to be eligible to play athletics immediately after transferring, the parent that he followed to the other school district can no longer be teaching in that school district. More specifically, for Travis to be eligible to play at PRC this season, his step mom could be teaching anywhere but the Picayune School District.

“I was just trying to do what was right for my kid,” Brent Travis, Christian’s father, said Monday. “I didn’t know the rule, I figured the administration would know.  I mean we live in that district. I guess it’s just something that fell through the cracks.”

PRC Athletics Director Andy Kivlan acknowledged the ruling Monday afternoon and said that the team would have to forfeit any win that the player had participated in.

“After some investigation, it appears that it was just a mis-understanding,” Kivlan, in his first year as the PRC AD, said. “It’s an unfortunate situation. We are looking into what our options are.”

Filing an appeal is a possibility, according to the elder Travis.

PRC Superintendent Alan Lumpkin, who is in Jackson for a conference, said earlier on Monday that the school self-reported the possible infraction after discovering there might be a problem late last week.

MHSAA Executive Director Don Hinton confirmed that a ruling had been made mid-afternoon Monday, and soon after that the PRC administration was made aware of the decision.

PRC head basketball coach Austin Alexander said Monday after practice that his team would carry on in preparation for tonight’s Region 8-5A game against Long Beach.

“I don’t know a lot to be honest,” Alexander added. “I have left it up to my administration and I have been concentrating on coaching. We will do the best we can considering the circumstances.”

Alexander had the Blue Devils off to a 15-5 start, including a 14-2 beginning that was one of the best in school history. PRC hasn’t had a winning season since 2005.