Oxford region champs: Clay-Chalkville made to forfeit 9 victories
by Bran Strickland
bstrickland@annistonstar.com
Oct 27, 2011 | 4262 views |  0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
John Grass had heard some scuttlebutt, but he wasn’t going to believe anything until he got something official.

When a reporter read the Alabama High School Athletic Association press release to him over the phone and asked if that was official enough, he said: “Yeah, I’d say so.”

Class 6A’s top-ranked Clay-Chalkville was discovered to have played an ineligible player in all of its games this season, and the school was ordered to forfeit all nine of its wins.

With Oxford’s lone region loss coming to Clay-Chalkville, 30-21 in Week 3, the Jackets inherited the Class 6A, Region 7 crown.

“All transfer students must be in good standing when they transfer from the previous school,” AHSAA executive director Steve Savarese said in an impromptu press conference from the state volleyball tournament. “Clay-Chalkville was in violation of that rule.”

Savarese declined to comment further, but did indicate that Clay Chalkville would appeal the AHSAA’s decision today at 10 a.m. to the Central Board of Control.

Theoretically, Clay-Chalkville could win its appeal, but that rarely happens.

While the region crown is nice — however it comes — Grass said it would make little difference in this case. It’s not like the Jackets even knew who they’d be playing anyway.

Oxford crosses with Region 7, which has a three-way tie for third place. Depending on the outcome of Week 10 games, the Jackets could get either Pelham, Spain Park or Vestavia Hills, all of which are 5-4 on the season.

“It really don’t change a lot for us,” Grass said. “It’s a not a huge deal.

“... When you’re in the playoffs you know you’re going to get good team. We’re more worried about how we’re playing than who we’re playing.”

If anything, Oxford can empathize with the Cougars’ plight.

In 2007, the Yellow Jackets were shut out of the playoffs after it was discovered they had used an ineligible player.

In the season’s final week, the Yellow Jackets were forced to forfeit seven of their wins that season, eliminating them from playoff contention.

The Oxford City Council and Mayor Leon Smith later issued a proclamation declaring the Yellow Jackets, then ranked No. 8 in the state, national champions.

Prep sports writer Nick Birdsong contributed to this report.
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