WASHINGTON, D.C.-- UPDATED 11/20/12 Woodrow Wilson High School was disqualified from the D.C. Interhigh Athletic Association (DCIAA) football championship game scheduled for Thanksgiving Day, District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) officials announced Nov. 18.
The Wilson Tigers football team, which was to appear in its first D.C. football championship game since 1991, included a player who is not a resident of D.C. and who had been arrested for armed robbery in October, school system officials concluded after a month-long investigation, DCPS Athletic Director Mitch Gore said.
Instead of Wilson, Anacostia High School will play Washington’s Dunbar High School in the 42nd annual Safeway Turkey Bowl, scheduled for Thanksgiving Day at 11 a.m. at Eastern High School in Northeast Washington.
“We’re excited about the chance to play, but it’s going to be a challenge … just trying to prepare for the game given such late notice,” Anacostia Athletic Director Walter Bond said. “But we’ll do what we have to for a chance to compete.”
An investigation found that the Wilson High School team roster included Nico Jaleel Robinson, 17, who, they determined, is not a D.C. resident, a requirement for eligibility to compete in interhigh sports. Police said he was arrested at a Greenbelt, Md. address said by authorities to be his home.
A review of game tapes by DCPS officials revealed that Robinson played in two games during the season, forcing Wilson to forfeit league games and disqualifying the Tigers from postseason play. Robinson’s residency was investigated after he was arrested in October in connection with several armed robberies in the College Park, Md. area.
Gore told the AFRO that an appeal by the school of the DCPS’s decision was considered but withdrawn, after the school’s investigation proved that Robinson was a Maryland resident.
‘It’s a very disappointing way to end such a great season,” Gore said. “Coach Martin and his staff did an excellent job with the team this season, but it’s really about the kids. These kids played so well this year, coming up with some big wins against Anacostia and Ballot. So I’m sad for them because I know they really wanted this game.”
Some of the students of Wilson, however, weren’t at all happy with the disqualification and staged a protest outside the Northwest Washington school.
One young female student, identified only by her Twitter name, @_PrettyBrownSkn, tweeted: “Tigers Protest! Wilson earned their spot fair and square...They deserve to go to the TURKEY BOWL! #tigerspride.”