The Orono High School boys soccer team has compiled a 10-0 record so far this season, but one of its biggest victories may have occurred off the field Monday.
The school, through principal Jim Chasse, won an appeal to the Maine Principals’ Association after the MPA ruled last week that the school had violated the MPA’s transfer waiver rule.
If Orono had not won the appeal, its soccer team would have forfeited seven victories due to using two ineligible players, and its record would be 3-7 with the playoffs less than three weeks away.
Orono High School, according to MPA Executive Director Dick Durost, did exactly what the MPA — the governing body for Maine high school sports — expects when a school learns of a violation.
“They did an investigation and determined they had violated the transfer waiver rule,” Durost said. “They had used two players for whom the transfer waiver forms had not been filed. Therefore, as the rule prescribes, they had to forfeit the first seven games of the season.”
Orono then filed the papers last week to the MPA and Durost signed them, making the players eligible for the three games, all victories, that followed.
Following rights granted for each member school, Orono then requested a hearing with the MPA’s Interscholastic Management Committee to appeal the ruling that forfeited the team’s first seven games. The committee met Monday and ultimately voted 8-0 in favor of Orono’s appeal.
“The request from Orono that they would receive a waiver for their violation of the transfer waiver rule was granted and therefore those seven victories have been reinstated,” Durost said.
Orono pursued the appeal because if felt the school didn’t intentionally violate the transfer waiver rule, according to Chasse.
“We believed that there wasn’t a violation of the intent of the rule and that it was clerical and circumstantial,” said Chasse. “There’s a process that they listened to appeals, we followed the process of the MPA. They certainly did their job as following it through as it is written. We did the appeal and it was ruled in favor of Orono.”
The MPA Interscholastic Committee that ruled in Orono’s favor is made up of principals and assistant principals as well as athletic directors, who work in a non-voting liaison capacity.
Chasse said everyone involved with the team — administrators, coaches and players — was relieved by the ruling.
“There was just a feeling that the right thing had been done,” he said.
No staff members of the MPA serve on the committee, but Durost works with the committee and was asked to serve as its spokesman.
For a short while Monday, Orono’s record in the Heal points on the MPA Web site was 3-7, but it was later changed and updated to 10-0 after the committee’s decision.