Friday, February 10, 2012
Nazareth freshman Jackson cleared
By Matt Ehalt
Nazareth won't have to forfeit its season after freshman girls basketball player Brittney Jackson was declared eligible by the Infractions and Eligibility Committee, according to Nazareth athletic director Rochelle Murphy.
The CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Division had been investigation whether Jackson was ineligible when she played, which carries a penalty of having to forfeit the season.
"It's definitely a relief," Murphy said on Friday. "I second guess myself initially but then I knew she had to be eligible. It's definitely a relief. With all the other stuff going on, it's a little bit of stress that has been removed for now."
Jackson transferred to Nazareth from Mary Louis Academy in November and played three games for Nazareth against Bishop Ford, Mary Louis and St. Francis Prep. Murphy said at the time she wasn't worried about the league's investigation since she knew that Jackson was eligible by league standards.
Murphy said there are two sets of rules for transfers, regarding to transfers that have played a sport at another school and those who have not played a sport. Since Jackson did not play a sport at Mary Louis, she fell into the latter category, which meant that she was eligible to play for the school in the second semester. Players have to be enrolled within the first 15 days of a semester to play, which is why Jackson did not play in the first semester.
The Infractions and Eligibility Committee, which has regular meetings, met on Thursday and discussed Jackson's eligibility. The league had asked Nazareth not to play Jackson until it met and it finally notified the school on Friday that the freshman had been cleared. She missed games against Christ the King and Bishop Loughlin, which were both Nazareth victories.
This investigation was just another controversial story in what has been a season-long marathon of sideshows for Nazareth, ranked No. 1 in New York City by ESPNNewYork.com. Before the season, three high-profile transfers students were ruled ineligible for Nazareth before being eventually cleared.
Head coach Apache Paschall died on Jan. 3 and Nazareth has requested that Bishop Ford and Christ the King have to forfeit the games they canceled on it in the aftermath. The principals committee is scheduled to meet on Monday to rule on the issue.
"Hopefully with Monday's meeting, that will be all," Murphy said. "I really don't know."
Making things worse, Nazareth found out on Wednesday that it will be closing its doors at the end of the year. Nazareth is currently 12-1 and undefeated in league play. It plays at The Mecca Challenge against New Jersey power, Manasquan, on Sunday afternoon.