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PREP BASKETBALL Africentric stripped of Div. IV title



Published: Sat, April 16, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The Columbus school used an ineligible player this season.

COLUMBUS (AP) -- Columbus Africentric has been stripped of its 2005 Division IV boys state basketball championship for using a player who was ineligible because of a paperwork mistake, high school sports regulators said Friday.

A decision on which district will be given the state title will be announced at a later date, said Dan Ross, commissioner of the Ohio High School Athletic Association.

Cleveland Heights Lutheran East lost to Africentric in the championship game on March 19 in Columbus. Africentric's 74-66 win gave the Nubians their first basketball crown.

Results of a Columbus Public Schools investigation submitted to the OHSAA showed that senior LaQuawn Perry played in all the Nubians' 28 games this season even though he was ineligible.

The district must forfeit all games in which Perry played, including the district and regional championships, said the OHSAA.

Investigation

The investigation found that former Africentric athletic director Larry Marshall failed to sign and submit an intradistrict transfer form for Perry, who had attended Columbus Brookhaven. Perry scored 17 points in the state championship game.

The investigation also found that Africentric principal Kamal Ansari signed documents indicating Perry was eligible to play when he was not.

"Because it was an intradistrict transfer, all that would've had to have happen was that we needed a note from the school district saying he was transferring from school A to B," OHSAA spokesman Bob Goldring said.

Columbus school board president Stephanie Hightower said the district is investigating whether to discipline administrators.

"My heart goes out to the school, the fans and the community for this unfortunate incident," she said. "It's especially hard when it's come because of one of our adults wasn't following through on paperwork, it's really unfortunate."

Messages seeking comment were left at schools where the administrators work.

Columbus schools spokesman Andrew Marcelain said the superintendent has said previously that the district would appeal but no decision has been made.

Roger McClinton, basketball coach and athletic director for Lutheran East, declined comment.

Africentric won the state championship in only its second year as a school. It specializes in African studies, history and culture.




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