Holland College Hurricanes forfeit 6 wins due to ineligible player
Team moved from first place ranking to tenth
The Holland College Hurricanes have forfeited six wins after a player was deemed ineligible, moving the team from a first place ranking to tenth in the Canadian Collegiate Athletics Association (CCAA).
The CCAA confirmed the student is Christian Williams.
College staff said they received a call in December, calling into question a player's eligibility based on his academic record at a college he previously attended.
The college researched the claim, conferred with the CCAA and suspended the player, removing him from the roster.
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"We were surprised," said head coach Josh Whitty. "At the start of the season we submitted all of his transcripts from other schools and everything looked good on our end."
Williams had good academic standing when he attended Sheridan College in Wyoming, but Holland College said it was his academic records at Sheridan College in Ontario, the college he attended previously, that were the problem.
"He was not academically eligible in Ontario and so in essence he was not academically eligible in Wyoming," said Sandra Murray-MacDonell, executive director of the CCAA.
According to CCAA eligibility rules, a player must earn nine credits in order to be able to play the following semester, which the CCAA said Williams didn't do at Sheridan College in Ontario.
Players can be reinstated once they fall out of academic standing: either they sit out for a year, or complete one academic semester, and receive the minimum of nine credits.
"You can't be participating at the same time," said Murray-MacDonnell.
Team hopes to bounce back
Heckbert said it's an unfortunate lesson to learn.
"The lesson that we've learned is, if you're dealing with an athlete who's played in Canada and another country, in this case the U.S., you really have to check their eligibility records all the way back," said Heckbert.
Whitty said while the news was a disappointment to the rest of the team, they're determined to bounce back.
The Holland Hurricanes will be hosting the upcoming national championship in March.
CBC's efforts to reach Williams for comment were unsuccessful.