New York High School: Brittney Jackson

Nazareth freshman Jackson cleared

February, 10, 2012
2/10/12
2:24
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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.

Nazareth under investigation again

February, 8, 2012
2/08/12
11:06
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The controversy surrounding the Nazareth girls basketball team seemingly never ends.

Nazareth athletic director Rochelle Murphy confirmed on Tuesday night a report by the New York Post that her team is being investigated by the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens for allegedly using an ineligible player. Nazareth is ranked No. 1 by ESPNNewYork.com.

The player, freshman Brittney Jackson, who transferred from Mary Louis Academy to the Brooklyn school in November, played in three games earlier this month against Bishop Ford, Mary Louis Academy and St. Francis Prep.

“They said that (Jackson) was ineligible and that she needed to be deemed eligible before she can play because she was a transfer student,” Murphy said.

If the league determines that Nazareth is guilty of this infraction the rules state that it has to forfeit the three games Jackson played in as well as the remainder of this season, the playoffs, and a minimum of one additional season.

“I'm really not concerned that she is ineligible because we know that she's eligible,” Murphy said. “I'm not the type to look for loopholes or to circumvent. You give me a rulebook and I'm going by the book.”

Jackson, who plays limited minutes, didn’t dress for Tuesday night’s game against Bishop Loughlin as she is sitting out until the league determines her eligibility in a meeting by the CHSAA Eligibility and Infractions committee on Feb. 9.

This is just the latest controversy at Nazareth, who has asked the league for forfeits from Bishop Ford and Christ the King after the schools refused to play games against it following the death of head coach Apache Paschall earlier this season.

At the time, Ford and Christ the King refused to play out of respect and because they said it was too soon after his death. Nazareth saw the games as a way to honor Paschall and were upset that they were not allowed to play. The Principals Committee is meeting Wednesday about the issue.

After dealing with the death of their head coach and the drama that occurred afterward, co-coach Lauren Best thinks that this latest incident is just too much for her players.

“Not only should Brittney be allowed to play, I think that they should leave our girls alone,” Best said. “They've been through enough and they are just fishing now. They are trying to kick us even more when we're down which to me is pathetic because we've already had the ultimate loss.

“We've done everything by the book. This kid didn't come in in January and she never played high school basketball before. She's a freshman and she's only ever played basketball with us.”

When reached for comment, the only thing league president Denise Hillig would say was that Jackson’s eligibility would be ruled on.

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