Nick Stevens

Explaining the Cary forfeits

Posted February 15, 2013

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You always hate to hear about a forfeit, no matter the reason.

A forfeit is unfortunate because it creates a result without the players on the court having the opportunity to decide the outcome.

On Friday, we got word from Cary athletic director Mike Dunphy that the Cary High School boys & girls basketball teams were forfeiting Friday night's contests against Athens Drive.

Usually when a team forfeits a game it's because of attendance violations, grade issues, a missing physical, or sometimes even an issue of residence. Today was a first for me though. Cary is forfeiting ahead of time because of the number of games they have played this season.

The N.C. High School Athletic Association clearly states in its handbook that teams can play 23 regular season games. What maybe isn't as clear is the Endowment game policy.

According to the handbook:

"An Endowment game may be played, which does not count against the season limit. Schools must request and be granted permission to play an Endowment game by the NCHSAA, and the opponent must be informed that the game is for the Endowment."

The NCHSAA interprets the rule as allowing for one endowment game to not count against the regular season limit. Cary interpreted it as any Endowment game does not county against the regular season limit.

It appears the rule comes down to a single, two-letter word – "an."

In this case, the NCHSAA interprets "an" to mean one.

The rule doesn't clearly state that only one Endowment game can be played that doesn't count against the regular season limit. But one could see how the word "an" could be interpreted that way.

I can also see how Cary interpreted it – any Endowment game you played doesn't count against your regular season limitations.

For future reference, hopefully we can get the language cleared up so there is no confusion in the future. I suspect this will probably come up in the Board of Directors meeting in May.

Cary appealed to the NCHSAA, explaining how they interpreted the rule, but the NCHSAA denied the appeal, resulting in the forfeits.

It's very unfortunate and you hate it for the kids. The loss off the court took away any chance the Cary girls had of making the playoffs as an automatic bid. Now the Lady Imps will have to win the conference tournament to get in.

The forfeits also take away Senior Night for the Cary girls and the Athens Drive boys, something they'll never get back, and quite frankly, something I don't know how you make up.

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