Dust off the 2011 Region 8 football championship trophy because it’s about to change locations.
The Region 8 principals met on Tuesday night and decided that Timpview High School will be forced to give up the 2011 Region 8 football trophy due to using an ineligible player.
The Region 8 board stripped Timpview of all Region 8 wins from last year (7-0) and put the T’Birds on a one-year probation.
The decision will give Maple Mountain, who finished second to Timpview last year with a 5-2 record, its first region football title.
“We feel like Timpview is making strong effort to do things the right way,” said Maple Mountain principal John Penrod, who is also the Region 8 chair. “They have the right to appeal still and it wouldn’t surprise me if they did, but I think Todd McKee (Timpview principal) is one of the finest men I’ve worked with and I know he wants to do the right thing for the kids.”
It was originally thought that Timpview would also have to forfeit a pair of region games this year because the player in question participated against Maple Mountain and Mountain View, but that player is eligible this year, a fact that Utah High School Activities Association Executive Director Rob Cuff verified.
“If a player transfers from School A to School B, the most any player has to sit out is one year,” Cuff said. “The player in question left Westlake in 2010 and became a full-time student at Timpview near the end of 2010.”
The player in question was originally at Timpview but transferred to Westlake and later came back to Timpview. Apparently his paperwork was not filled out properly, making him ineligible.
“For whatever reason his paperwork was not submitted to us,” Cuff said. “We only investigate it (a player’s eligibility) when it’s brought to our attention. I asked the school if there were any other players and they said ‘no,’ That’s all we can go by. If there are other ineligible players, we rely on people to submit those names to us.”
Timpview’s one-year, Region 8 probation means that if additional players are found to be ineligible during the probation the school will face additional penalties.
“We want to make sure the athletic director, the head coaches and assistant coaches stay within the bylaws of the UHSAA so there is no question what they should be doing,” Penrod said. “If there is another issue there will be a fine and stiffer consequences. We just want to create an equal playing field for all of the schools.”
Timpview has won eight state football championships since it opened its doors in 1977. Under former coach Louis Wong, the T’Birds won four titles in a row from 2006-09, but last year the program came under fire after it was audited and Wong was accused of misusing funds.
Wong was fired and later settled with Provo School District.
The T’Birds gave the job to Cary Whittingham. When asked about the Region 8 sanctions, Whittingham said he’s relieved to hear that the team won’t have to forfeit any games this season.
“I just heard about what was decided a few hours ago,” Whittingham said. “I wasn’t a part of what happened last year.”
Under Whittingham Timpview has continued its dominance. The T’Birds are 6-1 this year, including 4-0 in Region 8 games. In region play, they have beaten their opponents by an average of 29 points per game.