By Max Goodwin
The excitement over Grandview football’s strong start to the season has given way to disappointment as news came out over the weekend that the Bulldogs would have to vacate the results of the season’s first four games.
Grandview self-reported its own violation of using an ineligible player during a game to the MSHSAA. Instead of owning a 6-1 record after a defeat of Ruskin last Friday, Grandview is officially 3-4 with four forfeit losses.
“In almost all cases where a school submits a self-report of a violation, acceptance of the school’s conclusions happens relatively quickly,” Jason West, Communications Director for the MSHSAA, said by email. “Unless there is something that is not addressed in the self-report or new evidence surfaces, there is no further inquiries from the MSHSAA office.”
That’s what the MSHSAA did in this case with Grandview, accepting the school at its word for the violations. William Chrisman, Raytown South, and Winnetonka will receive wins added to their record despite losing on the field to Grandview earlier this season. Grain Valley beat Grandview and will maintain its record.
Grandview had the top seed in Class 4 District 7 before the news that they would forfeit games. The Bulldogs had been ranked No. 4 in the Class 4 Missouri football media rankings before the news came out. The Bulldogs dropped one spot this week to No. 5 in the rankings.
“I am really saddened that an error could affect more than 90 players and 10 coaches who have worked extremely hard and have done everything right. We are going to control what we can control and move forward,” said head coach Dan Joiner.
Grandview released a statement concerning the football update over the weekend.
“After conducting a thorough investigation, it has come to our attention that one of our players participated in the first four games while ineligible,” the statement said. “As soon as we discovered this issue, we took immediate action by contacting the MSHSAA and self-reporting the incident. On Friday, we received notification from MSHSAA that we would have to vacate the wins associated with the games in which the ineligible student participated.”
No clarification on the reason for the player’s ineligibility or why the school was unaware of the issue at the beginning of the season is currently available. When reached for comment, Grandview School District Public Relations Coordinator Sheba Clarke said, “All the information that we are able to provide on this request is in the statement.”
The statement by Grandview School District went on to say that steps have been taken to ‘update and enhance the processes and procedures to ensure that gaps like this do not occur in the future.’
“Despite this setback, we are immensely proud of the dedication and hard work our student-athletes have demonstrated throughout the year. We believe in their potential, and we look forward to the remainder of the season with optimism and enthusiasm. We appreciate your understanding and continued support of our student-athletes in their pursuit of excellence,” reads the statement.
Some of the common MSHSAA by-laws that could cause a player to be ineligible are not having a physical to prove medical eligibility before participating or not meeting the academic requirements. One example is students can’t participate if they fail two or more classes in the prior semester.
Joiner is the head coach of Grandview. In his third season leading the Bulldogs, Joiner had already accumulated more this season than each of the past two. Grandview finished with a record of 3-7 and 5-5 in the last two years.
Grandview had just defeated Ruskin, 27-21, in its most recent game to move to 6-1 before learning it would have to vacate three of those wins.
Two of the most difficult games of the season remain for the Bulldogs. They will face Kearney (5-2) and Smithville (6-1) at home to close out the season before the playoffs. Grandview is now fifth in playoff seeding for Class 4 District 7 and will have a tougher road through the state playoffs than it otherwise would have before Grandview’s violation was announced.
“If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to the school administration or athletic department. Your feedback and input are always valued,” the Grandview School District’s statement ended.