Update: At 2 p.m. Friday, Ringling released a statement regarding the OSSAA’s investigation into the football program.
“Ringling Public Schools was informed by the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activity Association on Tuesday, December 10, 2013, at approximately 4:45 pm, of an anonymous letter sent to them making accusations of an ineligible player participating on our Varsity Football team. The investigation is ongoing and we are working the OSSAA and staff to resolve the issue. The player in question has voluntarily been withheld from further competition until the matter is completed.”
10 a.m.: One year after winning the Class A state championship, Ringling is being investigated by the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association for playing an ineligible player throughout this season, multiple sources told The Oklahoman.
The OSSAA received an anonymous letter Tuesday with the allegations that a senior repeated a grade in middle school but did not sit out the required year. The OSSAA confirmed only that it is investigating a team playing this week.
“It’s still under investigation,” OSSAA executive director Ed Sheakley said late Thursday night. “We’ve done some fact-finding and given the school the chance to respond. We don’t have anything to be able to say at this point.”
The investigation does not have an impact on last season, a source confirmed.
Ringling has also not confirmed that it is the school or who the player is under investigation. Both superintendent Rick Hatfield and coach Tracy Gandy declined to comment.
The Blue Devils, ranked No. 1 with an 11-1 record, play No. 7 Talihina on Friday in the semifinals at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.
The OSSAA rulebook states in Rule 7, Section 1 that “after a student begins attending the seventh grade, that student generally is limited to participating in athletics during that school year and the five school years that follow consecutively after that school year.”
It also states in Section 3 that “a student who is repeating all or a portion of the seventh or eighth grade is not permitted to participate in athletics during that repeat period, even if the student has moved or transferred to another school for that repeat period, and even if the student did not participate at that grade level previously.”