LINCOLN (KMTV) — UPDATE: 1/21/22 4:40 PM
The NSAA voted unanimously on Thursday that Gretna High School must give up its 2021 Class A state football championship for competing with an ineligible player.
The Dragons have to give up their state title trophy but the players will be allowed to keep their medals. Gretna defeated Omaha Westside, 7-3, in the final but the championship will now be listed in the record books as 'vacated'.
The following is what 3 News Now Sports Director Adam Krueger received from NSAA Executive Director Jay Bellar:
"The NSAA Board held a hearing on whether Gretna Public Schools allowed an ineligible football player to play. The Board voted to uphold the Executive Director determination, with some clarification, which will be shared with Gretna Public Schools. The Board determined that Gretna failed to comply with its constitution and bylaws. The 2021 Class A football championship will be vacated, and there will be no Class A football champion listed for the 2021 football season."
Our content partners at the Omaha World-Herald are reporting the ineligible player issue has to do with the proper domicile paperwork not being on-file with the NSAA regarding the player's transfer from Papillion-La Vista South to Gretna.
On Friday, the Gretna Public School District released a statement saying it is "very disappointed with the decision of the NSAA Board of Directors to forfeit games that were played during the 2021 season and to vacate the Gretna High School Dragons’ 2021 Class A State Football Championship."
The statement goes on:
"In early December 2021, GPS was notified by the NSAA that a complaint from Omaha Westside High School had been received which alleged that an ineligible student participated on the Gretna High School varsity football team during the 2021-22 season.
While GPS was completely surprised at such an allegation, GPS staff cooperated and provided the NSAA with all requested information because it was our belief that such allegation was unfounded.
On December 29, 2021, GPS received the initial decision from the NSAA Executive Director which concluded that an ineligible student had indeed participated during the 2021 season. GPS was shocked and surprised at the executive director’s decision because GPS is a “closed district.” This means that GPS does not permit any open enrollment students who live outside of GPS’s boundaries to attend any of the 10 outstanding schools in the District. Each and every student that is enrolled in all 10 of the District’s schools lives within the boundaries of the District. We require each and every student to provide proof of residency within the District’s boundaries prior to enrollment and this requirement is strenuously enforced without any exceptions.
After we received the executive director’s initial decision, we immediately sought legal counsel and filed an appeal to be heard by the NSAA Board of Directors. Additionally, we requested a closed hearing eight days prior to Thursday’s scheduled hearing date in order to protect the student and the family from the disclosure of sensitive, personal and potential confidential information protected by student privacy laws.
At Thursday’s meeting, we were very disappointed when we heard our student’s name announced in the open portion of the meeting in the presence of the news media prior to the hearing being closed.
The family of our student in question provided the necessary enrollment documentation to GPS, and GPS verified that the student’s residence was within the District and that the student was living with his father at that residence.
It is important to note that the student and his family did nothing wrong and it is our sincere belief that there was never any dishonesty or deceit on their part or on the part of the District.
While everyone is disappointed with the outcome, we will continue to support the student, the family, our team, all of our students and the entire Gretna schools’ community throughout this process."