Princeton boys soccer must forfeit all wins for using ineligible players

Father: 'I'm heartbroken for the kids'
Posted at 2:58 PM, Sep 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-21 01:16:00-04

SHARONVILLE, Ohio -- One day after the Princeton High School varsity football team was forced to forfeit three wins due to using an ineligible player, the boys varsity soccer team learned they must also forfeit all of their wins. 

Princeton City School District Superintendent Tom Burton said the school completed an internal audit that found some players on the both the varsity and junior varsity teams were academically ineligible to participate -- a fact that athletic director Gary Croley Jr. should have shared with administrators but didn't.

The varsity team's record will drop to 0-8 as a result of the discovery.

In a statement online, Burton wrote: "After the completion of the audit, we found other student athletes in football and boys soccer that did not meet the eligibility requirements pursuant to Ohio High School Athletic Association rules. These were also reported to OHSAA, and in accordance with OHSAA rules, we have forfeited each win in both junior varsity football changing our record from 3-1 to 0-4 and boys soccer, changing our record from 5-1-2 to 0-8."

Croley Jr., a 1994 Princeton High School alumnus who began teaching there in 2004 and became athletic director in 2011, has been placed on paid administrative leave. 

The one-two punch of sporting setbacks didn't sully Thursday night's homecoming parade, which still attracted crowds dressed in Princeton scarlet and gray, but they did leave parents saddened on behalf of the student body.

"(I'm) heartbroken for the kids," father John Emery said. "They've been playing and working really hard this year. ... For the seniors, this is their last year and we looked like we were going to have a real good shot at the finals. Now, it's going to be a very hard fight battle if we get a chance at going to the playoffs." 

OHSAA director of communications Tim Stried wrote in a statement he expected Princeton High School to create better contingencies to track student-athletes' eligibility in case of a possible repeat.

"The OHSAA appreciates Princeton self-reporting these infractions and taking academic eligibility seriously," he wrote. "We trust that the school will put measures in place so that this doesn't happen in the future."