The Arlington public schools announced Wednesday that eight of its teams have forfeited games from the 2011-2012 school year because of participation by ineligible players.
The problems occurred during the tenure of athletic director Ted Dever, whom the district is trying to fire. Dever is also the subject of a criminal investigation, school officials have said.
The announcement about the forfeitures came one day after Dever, who is on paid administrative leave, criticized the school district’s efforts to fire him as unfounded.
Rick Grundy, Dever’s attorney, said that the school district has not mentioned the forfeitures as a reason officials are seeking to fire his client.
Superintendent Kathleen Bodie said in a press release that an investigation by the district found that 12 Arlington High School teams had ineligible players during the 2011-2012 school year, including some who were ineligible because of their grades and some foreign exchange students who did not have waivers from the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association.
Eight teams — including the fall 2011 boys junior and varsity soccer teams, along with the spring 2012 boys varsity tennis and girls junior varsity softball teams — had to forfeit their wins from the entire season.
The varsity wrestling team has had to forfeit its first three matches of the 2011-2012 season. The varsity baseball team forfeited its first three games. The freshman baseball team forfeited all its wins, beginning April 10. And the girls junior varsity lacrosse team forfeited all its wins during the first 12 games of the season.
Bodie’s office said that the academic eligibility to play a sport should be verified by the athletic department each term.
Dever was placed on administrative leave on Aug. 27 after Arlington police informed the school district that the athletic director was the subject of a criminal investigation.
Police said this week that the investigation is ongoing, but they have not released what it is about.
Acting athletic director Rob DiLoreto learned that there might have been academic eligibility issues after Dever was placed on leave, according to the school district.
Grundy said Bodie sent Dever a letter on Nov. 15 notifying him of her intention to dismiss him for performance-
related issues that did not refer to the criminal investigation.
Dever had a hearing with Bodie and an attorney representing the school district on Dec. 4.
At that meeting, Grundy said the school officials raised questions about Dever not completing the eligibility checks for student athletes for this year, the fall season of the 2012-2013 school year.
Grundy said that school officials had not raised concerns about student eligibility from the 2011-2012 school year as part of the administrative leave action against Dever.
Grundy criticized the school district’s effort to fire Dever, saying the decision was based on faulty information.
“If they had this information, why wasn’t it included in the initial letter?” Grundy said.
Grundy said Dever was placed on administrative leave before he had the opportunity to complete the eligibility checks for this year’s teams.
Bodie declined to comment about Dever because it is a personnel matter.
In her press release Wednesday, the superintendent did not mention Dever, who had served as athletic director from 2007 until he was placed on leave in August.
Bodie’s office said in the release that she, along with interim Principal Mary Villano and DiLoreto, has reviewed the enforcement of its verification procedures in the Athletic Department and is establishing a system to ensure that only eligible athletes participate in sports.
“These forfeitures are unfortunate, but they should not adversely reflect on any of our student athletes or coaches,” Bodie said.Brock Parker can be reached at email@example.com.