MPA may ask Cheverus to give back 2010 basketball title in wake of player ineligibility

Posted Aug. 02, 2012, at 3 p.m.

The Maine Principals’ Association is prepared to ask Cheverus High School to forfeit its 2010 Class A boys’ basketball state championship, according to a report by WGME on Wednesday.

If Cheverus does give up the title, it could be offered to Edward Little High School, which lost to Cheverus, 55-50, in the championship game. But it is not clear whether Edward Little would choose to accept it.

According to WGME, MPA and Cheverus officials have scheduled a meeting for Aug. 20, at which time the MPA could ask Cheverus to give back its state championship because it used an ineligible player during the season.

Senior guard Indiana Faithfull had to sit out the Stags’ final five games of the regular season after the MPA ruled Faithfull, a transfer student from Australia, had used the eight semesters of high school eligibility the MPA permits for participants in high school athletics.

Faithfull’s family was granted an injunction just hours before Cheverus played its first-round game in the tournament. Faithfull played in all three games of the Western Class A tournament and was named the Most Valuable Player. He went on to score a game-high 23 points in the state title game and was later named the state’s Mr. Basketball.

The Sun Journal could not reach MPA officials for comment Wednesday night. MPA and Cheverus officials declined comment to WGME.

Edward Little athletic director Dan Deshaies and boys’ basketball coach Mike Adams both declined comment when contacted by the Sun Journal Wednesday.

In March, 2010, Adams said he would have mixed feelings if the MPA awarded the title to the team. Yusuf Iman, a senior guard and co-captain on the team during the 2009-10 season, said the team had decided it would not accept the gold ball.

“We met as a team and talked about it and, basically, we came to the conclusion that the score was 55-50, and we lost, so we’re going to lose like champions and walk out with our heads up,” Iman said in the 2010 story. “That’s not how we want to win. What are we going to put on the ball? I don’t want an asterisk on the ball. With the history that we have with the 1946 championship, I don’t want that to be the way we win our first [since then].”

Two weeks after Cheverus won the title, the MPA appealed the injunction. In June, 2010, Faithfull filed a complaint with the Maine Human Rights Commission that the MPA had discriminated against him when it didn’t let him play. An MHRC investigator’s report said Faithfull had reasonable grounds to claim discrimination, but the commission split, 2-2, reverting the case back to the court.

Last spring, a Cumberland County Superior Court judge reversed the previous ruling and lifted the temporary restraining order. MPA executive director Richard Durost said in March, 2010 Cheverus would forfeit the title if the MPA won the case.

Durost also said the MPA hadn’t decided what it would do with the title if Cheverus relinquished it.

“That would be new territory for us,” Durost said in the article. “We would have to make a determination at that point as to whether [the championship] would remain open or whether the teams Cheverus lost to would fill those slots.”

Durost said the MPA would likely ask for a recommendation from its basketball and management committees before proceeding.

See more from the Sun Journal at sunjournal.com.

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