COVINGTON - A small clerical error cost the Alcovy boys basketball team two very important Region 8-AAA games and a possible top seeding in the region playoffs.
Instead of being in first place on top of the region with a region record of 9-2, the Tigers, now 7-4, are in second place.
They are a game behind Jonesboro (8-3) and a half-game in front of Stockbridge (7-5) making tonight's 7:30 game against Jonesboro even more important.
The mishap occurred before the season started when all eligible players had to be submitted to the Georgia High School Association. Somehow, a name was left off the list.
"I was told which players were not eligible so I didn't play those guys. The kid that played slipped under the radar, it was miscommunication," Alcovy coach Eugene Brown said.
"It was just an oversight. It's not like we were sneaking around bringing kids from all over the state to help our program. It's an unfortunate incident that we're taking the blame and all the criticism for and we won't let it happen again."
During a game, Chris Haymore, Alcovy's athletic director, noticed a player dressed out whose name he did not recognize.
After discussing the player in question with Brown and realizing what happened, Haymore contacted the GHSA and turned themselves in for the violation.
"We discussed it and decided the best course of action was to report it, as we are required to do," Brown said. "I'm glad we reported it ourselves."
After a hearing by the GHSA and since the player moved from out of the area, the player was deemed eligible and was given a hardship clearance.
However, since he was not on the original eligibility roster submitted to the state, the Tigers had to forfeit all four games in which he played.
Of the four games, two were losses and two were wins.
The two wins Alcovy had to take off their books were a 14-point win over Stockbridge and 40-35 win over Forest Park.
Despite the setback, Alcovy can still take the No. 1 seed in the region playoffs.
"If we win the rest of our region games we can still claim the top seed. It's not going to affect us because we're still going to have to play a tough team in the region tournament. We still feel like we can advance to state (playoffs) if we play well," Brown said. "We just have to move on from there."
As a result of the violation, Alcovy has implemented an in-school form which will make it easier for the coaches to make sure an incident like this does not happen again.
Beside's the forfeits, Alcovy also had to pay a $250 fine.
"They redid their structure for fines last year. I thought it was going to be a lot more," Haymore said. "But I think that No. 1, we did turn ourselves in and No. 2, we took steps to stop the problem from happening again. I think the (GHSA) was fair."
Manny Fils can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.