Updated Oct. 26, 2012 to include additional information regarding court ruling.
An investigation by the Minnesota State High School League after an altercation between two north metro boys varsity soccer teams has lead to Prairie Seeds Academy being disqualified from the state tournament.
However, it wasn’t the altercation between Totino-Grace High School and Prairie Seeds players that prompted the disqualification. And Totino-Grace won't get to take Prairie Seeds' place in the tournament.
“Use of an ineligible player during the entire 2012 soccer season has led the Minnesota State High School League to disqualify Prairie Seeds Academy from the State Class A Boys’ Soccer Tournament,” the league said in a press release Oct. 24.
Fight Investigation Turns up Unexpected Violation
The league was investigating an altercation that occurred between Totino-Grace of Fridley and Prairie Seeds Academy of Brooklyn Park after the Section 5A championship boys varsity soccer game Oct. 18 at Maple Grove Senior High. During the course of the investigation, the league said it received information that questioned the eligibility of Prairie Seeds Academy player “that was involved in the post-game altercation.”
Student records reportedly showed the player had attended a different school during the 2011–12 school year and transferred to Prairie Seeds Academy in the fall of the 2012–13 school year.
“A Student Transfer Online Form was never initiated by Prairie Seeds Academy. Thus, the student was never eligible to participate in varsity soccer, and per League Bylaw 304—Ineligible Player, the game and honors shall be forfeited,” according to the MSHSL press release.
Totino-Grace Season Still Over
Despite the disqualification, Totino-Grace will not replace Prairie Seeds Academy in the state tournament “because of the uncertainty of which team may have advanced earlier in the section tournament had Prairie Seeds Academy not played,” the league said.
Marshall School instead will advance to next week’s semifinal at the Metrodome. But a league official advised the Marshall School coach to prepare for a match with Prairie Seeds anyway in case Prairie Seeds challenges the league ruling, according to the Sun Post newspaper.
“The Minnesota State High School League Board of Directors and League staff are extremely disappointed by the action of individuals immediately following, and connected directly to, the Oct. 18, 2012, Section 5A Championship Soccer Game held at Maple Grove High School,” said League Executive Director Dave Stead. “Such behavior is not condoned and should never be a part of any high school game or school activity.”
The MSHSL met with coaches and administrative representatives from both schools on Monday to discuss and review “the facts surrounding the altercation that occurred in the vicinity of the Totino-Grace team bench with no time remaining on the clock at the conclusion of the Oct. 18, 2012, Section 5A Championship Soccer Game,” according to the press release.
'We Should Take Their Spot'
The league's press release has prompted more than 60 comments at the MSHSL Facebook page, starting with this comment from Totino-Grace team captain Ryan Zurbay:
"How is there uncertainty of which team may have advanced earlier in the section tournament had Prairie Seeds Academy not played? I am the captain of the Totino-Grace Varsity Boys Soccer Team and we won our semifinal game 9-0 and Prairie Seeds won their semifinal game 12-0. There really shouldn't be uncertainty here. We should take their spot in the State Tournament."
Twelve Players Involved in Altercation
After reviewing the footage by Channel 12 of Northwest Community Television, the MSHSL staff, coaches and school administration representatives determined and agreed upon the following, according to the MSHSL press release:
- Six players from each school had been involved in the altercation in varying degrees.
- Five players were determined to have thrown punches at or kicked players or coaches from the opposing team, and five players were determined to have been involved to a lesser degree.
- Two players identified in the video were not involved in the altercation.
Ten Players Penalized
The Minnesota State High School League executive director, in accordance league rules and guidelines, took the following action, according to the MSHSL press release:
- Five players will be ineligible for a minimum period of four weeks
- Five other players will be ineligible for one game
- Two players will have no penalty
The full MSHSL Board of Directors will review the entire incident at their regular meeting Dec. 6, 2012, according to the press release. The board may decide additional action at that time.
Updated Oct. 26, 2012
(10 a.m. Friday): A week after fighting broke out at a boys soccer playoff match at Maple Grove Senior High, the two schools involved continued to press their cases online and in court.
Prairie Seeds Academy of Brooklyn Park is asking a judge to make the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) to let its team advance to the state tournament after the league disqualified Prairie Seeds for having an ineligible player.
(4 p.m. Friday): A judge's ruling Friday means the Prairie Seeds Academy boys soccer team won't take the field at Roseville Area High School at 5:30 p.m. Friday for a quaterfinal state tournament match.
Neither will Totino-Grace High School, after the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) ruled that neither school could advance.
For more on the court's ruling, click here: