Spanish Fort boys and girls soccer teams ruled ineligible for playoffs by AHSAA

Published: Apr. 27, 2022 at 6:37 PM CDT
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SPANISH FORT, Ala. (WALA) - Just days before the Spanish Fort Toros were set to start their playoff run their season came to came to unexpected end when they were disqualified.

The controversy surrounds a specific student. Mobile lawyer David Allen filed a lawsuit on behalf of Kerry Defelippo’s son Anthony who recently moved to Spanish Fort from Colorado.

Court documents show that Spanish Fort athletic director Chase Smith reached out to AHSAA soccer director Marvin Chou to ask about Defelippo’s eligibility.

In the email smith explains that Defelippo’s played for two amateur organizations but wasn’t paid for playing. Court documents show that chou approved Defelippo’s eligibility but the decision was reversed last week.

On April 26th Baldwin County Circuit Judge Scott Taylor signed a temporary restraining order which required the AHSAA to reinstate Defelippo’s in time for the playoffs. but in the athletic association’s motion to dissolve the restraining order, a letter from Baldwin county Superintendent Eddie Tyler is quoted in part saying “I have determined that SFHS will honor AHSAA’s finding and SFHS will not be participating in the boys’ spring soccer playoffs.

Superintendent Eddie Tyler sent us this statement that says:

“Over the last few days, our Spanish Fort High School athletic program has been dealing with some very unfortunate news. The Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) has determined both the boys’ and girls’ varsity soccer teams are ineligible to compete in the State playoffs. Upon learning of this decision from AHSAA yesterday regarding the boys’ varsity team, I spoke with AHSAA to make an appeal regarding AHSAA’s decision. My letter to AHSAA yesterday stating that we would honor AHSAA’s finding and decision followed that conversation. After receiving information about the girls’ varsity soccer team, I again called AHSAA, to make an appeal that they reverse the decision. Unfortunately, AHSAA’s decision is final.

AHSAA is the governing body by which all middle school and high school programs in Alabama are regulated. In this particular instance, the decision regarding eligibility comes down to a family with players on both the girls’ and boys’ teams who relocated here from another state. Under AHSAA rules, the entire family must have moved at the same time from an out-of-state location to an in-state location. Because the family did not all move at the same time, AHSAA has determined that all children in that family are ineligible for varsity competition. Since those children competed in the regular season, it now renders each of those games a forfeit under AHSAA rules.

We were aware of the move from out of state and engaged AHSAA earlier in the season to inquire about this specific concern. We were told by AHSAA that the male student was eligible to participate. At some point in the season, a complaint came to AHSAA from a third party and upon further investigation, AHSAA found additional information which they felt made all children in the family ineligible. After informing us of such determination, it was made clear that all games would be forfeited and the system would face significant fines should we refuse to comply with their decisions.

This is a very unfortunate situation. My heart hurts for the dozens of families and children who have competed and participated in the season, fully expecting to be part of the state championship process. I have made my feelings known to the administration of AHSAA in asking them to consider our situation under appeal. They feel very confident in the position they have taken and are unable to reconsider under their current rules.”

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