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Should Eleanor Roosevelt Be Dropped from the Rankings?

Okay, this post isn't about recruiting. But I think it will appeal to most of the readers who follow high-level high school sports.

In advance of getting ready to do next week's football rankings, I'm interested to hear what folks think The Post should do with Eleanor Roosevelt. In case you haven't heard, the Raiders forfeited their season opener and could forfeit two more games by the end of the week for using ineligible players.

Some background, for what it's worth. The player already declared ineligible was not one of the Raiders' stars. Two more players whose eligibility is in question include one of the team's best players.

Currently, Roosevelt is ranked sixth. In four games, the Raiders have yet to allow a point.

The question is, what should happen with Roosevelt in the rankings. Should the Raiders stay sixth (or possibly move up, if teams ahead of them lose) even if they have an official record of 4-1 or 2-3 (counting a victory this weekend and the possibility of forfeiting two games)? Or should they be dropped from the rankings?

I'm sure there will be plenty of debate among our staff on this one, so fire away with any and all compelling arguments.

By Josh Barr  | October 3, 2007; 12:47 PM ET
Categories:  Football  
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Let's see. They CHEATED!!!!!!!! What about all of the schools that follow the rules. Should we say if you can cheat and not get caught (or in this case get caught) it will be ok? As far as that goes the Private schools have no business in the rankings with public schools since they have the ability to recruit.

Posted by: MD | October 3, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Its bad enough that the public schools in this area duck the private schools -- As Eli Saslow reported a few months back, MD,DC,VA and TX are the only jurisdictions that don't include private schools in state tournaments, and now you don't even want them in the same rankings??? How weak is that?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 3, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse

I believe that if they used an ineligible player and there record would suffer from it that they should be dropped from the rankings. We must show the young people in our society that when you break the rules there are consequences for your actions. If the Post didn't not drop them they would not be sending a positive to our society. Do what is right even if it's not what you want to do.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 3, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

First of all, No players have been officially been ruled inelidgable. They were voted that way by a committee only, prior to a complete investigation. All the players under "suspicion" are being appealed as I type. The Raiders deserve their ranking, and purhaps a better one. One should also note that these kids are being forced to sit out games when they are just under suspicion and have not been proven guilty of anything. Guilty until proven innoccent. Last time I checked, it is not supposed to work that way. One should also look at who this information is coming from and look at their creditiblity. Again, Mr. Barr. You are supposed to be a journalist. Start doing some investigating and read in between the lines. These allegations are false and are coming from people with no credibility and a history of lying. All the people supporting the allegations are former coaches or players that have been fired, failed out of the school, or currently coach or assist rival schools. And the person at the top of the investigation, Mr. Hawkins, has a well known hatred for Roosevelt and the coach of Roosevelt. I wish people would stop "hating" on Roosevelt and instead look at what the school has acheived for so many kids. Over 200 kids put into college from football alone in the past 8 years. What other school has come close to that... maybe Dematha. Mr. Barr and the public... read in between the lines. This whole thing is a witch hunt and a lie and the truth will prevail.

Posted by: shershot99 | October 3, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I would agree that much more comprehensive investigative reporting should be done by the local media. A detailed explanation of the investigative/disciplinary/appeal process would be good for readers, as well. The Post could do SO much better...

Also, I doubt seriously that ERHS is alone in this type of transgression; seems like it's always been "under the radar" in PGCPS, especially for the 4A/larger 3A schools. Maybe this is just the tip of the iceberg, and we'll see not only other schools' transgressions come to light, but (hopefully) with better monitoring for compliance, we'll see more parity between PGCPS schools' athletic program success...

On the other hand, cheating is cheating, and if a school gets caught, why on earth should that school get rewarded with accolades in local and state polls? It DOES send the wrong message(s) to everyone.

ERHS is one of the largest schools in the state, so it stands to reason that its athletic teams would have a greater chance at success -- you have more students in its attendance boundaries to draw talented athletes from. Add in ineligible, out-of-boundary recruits, and that adds to the unfair advantage. The school has many talented coaches, but this casts a shadow on all of them.

Roosevelt's administration clearly is -- and has long been -- aware of rules/recruiting violations, but always seems to sanction this sort of thing. What, 2 different Athletics Administrators (Taylor, McNeil) in charge, yet this is the second time in the last 2-3 years that there have been violations?!

It is common knowledge that PGCPS leadership HAS/CONTINUES TO ALLOW Roosevelt to "get away with murder" by skirting rules and policies that other schools are expected to follow to a "T" (and not just athletics, but academic reporting, compliance issues, too.) I seriously doubt that Earl Hawkins, Director of PGCPS Athletics under 3 different superintendents, would have waited this long, IF he was "out to get" ERHS Athletics and coaches. Plus, didn't one of the "questionable" athletes' mother acknowledge that she went along with ERHS Administration's fake-address scheme for her son(s)? IF one or more of these out-of-boundary athletes were conditionally admitted because they were in a special program/special transfer (Science & Tech, AOIT, et al), wouldn't the school system have their test-in scores or other documentation to support that?

No one is "hating" on Eleanor Roosevelt; that's a cop out to divert attention from the real issue(s). ERHS has quite a school and quite an athletic program. Athletics brings in big bucks, big publicity, and college recruiters to a school, but rules are rules, and EVERYONE and EVERY SCHOOL should have to follow those rules consistently, or face the consequences. That is the role of school/school system administration! It really takes away from those athletes and coaches who work so hard and accomplish so much.

If ERHS has been sanctioned, that should be reflected by their drop in the polls. Until any appeals filed by ERHS are granted, the school should NOT appear in anyone's "Top 20" polls.

Posted by: Ntlekt | October 3, 2007 11:31 PM | Report abuse

While I agree with some of what you said, I must disagree with the overall point of the post. Nobody at Roosevelt has been allowed to get away with murder. I am not willing to say how I know this, but lets just say I am on the inside and can assure everyone that none of the coaches knew. The mother that you write about, saying she went along with the coaches... completely false. I can also assure you that none of the coaches were involved. This woman is and always has been a liar. That is a pure fact. The county is the one that set up Roosevelt and gave kids the right to transfer into that school from anywhere in the state through Science and Tech, foreign language programs, and several other magnet or minority programs. The county is the one responsible for checking the addresses of kids and making sure they go where they are supposed to go. Again... this whole issue is under appeal and lawyers are now involved. Again... I can assure all of you, the coaches did nothing wrong and broke no rules. Not that you know me, but I ask you to trust me on this one.

Posted by: shershot99 | October 4, 2007 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Private schools in Texas can apply to be part of the public school state tournaments and regular season play.

Case in point, Jesuit, a Catholic school in Dallas.


Posted by: Anonymous | October 4, 2007 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Good thing this isn't TTexas.... Allowing the Privates in with the Publics is "unfair" period. It would be similar to having USC play a DII Schedule and calling them National Champions when they run the table.

Posted by: MD | October 4, 2007 10:47 AM | Report abuse

What about the guys at Friendly? We all know the kid tranfered into that school in August. So, much for playing within your district. Hawkins, needs go. The entire sysyetm in P.G. is broken.

Posted by: 1922... | October 4, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

ERHS has indeed got away with murder for a very long time.It can and will proven that this has been going on under this coach for years. I say drop them from the rankings immediately!

Posted by: Don Thomas | October 4, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Again, ERHS has not been doing this for years. Everyone out there needs to stop "hating" on them. Hawkins is a moron! Look at what they are doing with these 3 new kids. They all live in the school district for Roosevelt, the county knows this, and yet they said these kids can go to the school but not play football. Then they changed the ruling later to say they had to go to different schools and could not play. They know these kids live in the right zones, but they dont care. It is not up to the coach to determine where a kid lives. What is to stop a parent from giving a kid a false address so he cant attend a better school. The school would not know that... only the parent and the child would. Hell, my parents almost did that for me so I would not have to go to Northwestern. It is a crap school when compared to ERHS. I was able to transfer under a language program, legally. The coach never knew about that. All they cared about was that my GPA was above 2.5 and that I did what I was supposed to do. IF you are going to blame anyone, blame the parents. But again, NONE of the coaches knew about Rios or anyone else. Get your facts straight!

Posted by: shershot99 | October 4, 2007 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Quoted from today's Gazette Newspapers:

"''Everybody knew that was going on at Roosevelt; it was common knowledge over in PG," said Gaithersburg football coach Kreg Kephart, whose 2001 team lost in the state semifinals to a Raiders squad that included the player who came forward to say he was recruited. ''It's just that the county decided to do something about it now. Ask any coach over there, and they knew what was going on."

Both coaches deny the allegations and told the Prince George's Gazette that they plan to appeal. Recruiting is one of the truly big no-nos of public-school sports -- and so every year, there are rumors and accusations that someone (usually a successful someone) is doing it.

We hear the whispers in Montgomery County just as surely as they did over in Prince George's. The biggest surprise in the Roosevelt case is that someone actually got caught when the former player and his family came forward to implicate Houchens.

''I don't remember anything like that in Montgomery, where coaches got suspended," said Sherwood's Al Thomas, in his 24th season as a head football coach in the county. ''There are always all sorts of innuendoes and accusations. But for the most part, when things are checked, they've been pretty good."

Which begs the question -- could it happen here?

Well, the answer is easy: It has. The county's director of athletics, Duke Beattie, said ''it has occurred" once during his 10-year tenure that a Montgomery County coach was disciplined for recruiting. Certainly, it was nothing as publicized as Houchen's removal from Roosevelt; no one on The Gazette's staff can recall it happening.

The more worrisome question is not ''has it happened?" so much as ''is it happening?" The answer seems to depend on what the ''it" is.

It seems to be a fact that some Montgomery County high-school students try to switch schools for athletic reasons. The consensus is that some succeed.

''There are probably guys playing places in the county that aren't where they belong," Kephart said. ''If not this year, than in the past."

The county has a pretty daunting series of safeguards against this. It keeps a database of each student and the school he or she attended the previous year; if that school is different in the current year, someone finds out why. All student-athletes and their guardians also complete and sign a form comprised of six residency questions.

There are legitimate reasons to transfer from one school district to another, of course -- a move, magnet program, consortium, change of living arrangements -- and Beattie believes the system catches most of the illegitimate reasons.

''There's still that potential that a student could not tell the truth," he said. ''If we check everything within reason that we possibly can, then at least we will have done all the due diligence."

Plus, that's not necessarily recruiting. The ''R" word comes in when someone encourages a student-athlete to transfer. It can be as simple as residents of one school district offering their street addresses to students living in another.

This almost certainly happens, too; The Gazette has heard credible stories to that effect, though usually involving players who chose not to transfer. Frankly, it would be surprising if all the stories were false.

''I'm sure it goes on," said Damascus coach Dan Makosy. ''There are a lot of divorces, situations where the parents live in two different school districts, and you can go play in one of two different programs."

But coaches are another step up from that. If there's recruiting going on, how much do the coaches know about it? Are they encouraging it, or doing it themselves?

What makes the Roosevelt situation so explosive is that coaches allegedly drove players from practice to their homes in other school districts. And that they gave those same players Greenbelt addresses to memorize in case anyone asked where they lived.

That's the kind of ''it" that means serious trouble, the kind Roosevelt's coaches are now in. Does ''it" happen here?

''It's all in the MCPS athletic handbook, and all our coaches are aware of it and reminded at pre- and postseason meetings," Beattie said. ''I think we have a very professional coaching staff and everyone understands what the rules are. What we have in place would certainly be powerful discouragers."

Whether they're enough, we won't know for sure, until a player or parent steps forward to say otherwise.

The rule

What the MCPS High School Athletics Handbook says regarding recruitment of athletes:

''Coaches, booster club members, or other school-affiliated parties are not permitted to contact or recruit students who do not reside in the school attendance area or to encourage them to attend another school. When a student or parent who does not reside in the school attendance area contacts a coach, the coach must inform that person of the rules and shall not encourage him or her to seek a transfer. Violation of this rule will result in appropriate personnel action."

Posted by: Ntlekt | October 5, 2007 5:52 PM | Report abuse

they should clean the whole system up. Schools like Friendly, Potomac, and Gwynn Park, just to name a few, seem to "get away with murder".. Example.. Potomac had a player Shannon that played 5 years of highschool ball.. and I bet that "superstar family" over at Friendly shouldnt be attending that school either... but the one eye closed regulators over in PGCPS system seem to know who to mess with and who not...

Posted by: PG football fan | October 8, 2007 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Rankings are just your guess as to who would win at a neutral site. Rank them according to how good you think they would be if the ineligible player had not been playing. The record (with or without forfeited games) is irrelevant.

Posted by: GKC | October 9, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Absolutely, ER should be dropped from the rankings. My question is why hasn't ER fired this guy yet? This is the second or third time he has been investigated and it looks like the team is doing pretty good while he is on supsension. He has brought alot of negative publicity to the school and PG county.

Posted by: Ghetto Mel | October 10, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Yes all of us in P.G. county knew it was going on all along. We grew up with the same people that go play over and play for roosevelt so its no big surprise its jus that someone finally decided to investigate. It really isnt fair but there nothing you could ave done about it but go out and play them anyways. its a shame when they get away with and it affects the other teams in the county.How do you think crossland feels about tis after going 7-3 last year and didnt make the play-offs because this team used players out of its residency. Plus everyone who grew up playing youth P.G. county football knows Greenbelt never been good and they coaches be right out there recruiting. Plus no one seems to note that Suitland's quarterback went to roosevelt just prior to the star of last season before he transferred because he wasnt treated right

Posted by: Anonymous | October 13, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse

shershot99 and the other ER apologist really need to stop deluding themselves. Stating that all the coaches at ER were completely oblivious is to imply that the football coaches and track coaches are imbeciles and that they don't know their student athletes. If the word has been on the street for years--which is has--about ER's underhanded practices, then how could anyone be ignorant enough to state that nobody at ER knew? I know for a fact that their track team is very close knit, so all of them probably knew that the cross-country girls weren't supposed to be there. All I ask is that you don't insult our intelligence by asserting that the administration and coaches at ER is a bunch of zombies walking around oblivious to what's going on around them. It just doesn't happen that way. Maybe the cross-country and track teams won't be quite so vociferous and arrogant from now on as they shout out the school name when breaking from a huddle. I guess Coach A is glad now that he got fired last year (after being named Coach of the Year for indoor, no less) as the head track man, via text message, mind you. That's real classy, Roosevelt.

Posted by: Vent | October 16, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

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