After choosing to forfeit its football season for using an ineligible player on Friday, St. Francis on Sunday withdrew that agreement with the ILH.
In addition, St. Francis head of school Dr. Casey Asato filed an appeal with the ILH in an effort to get three of its victories back and possibly still qualify for the Division II state tournament.
The appeal is based on a rule in the ILH handbook that states a school must forfeit games in which the ineligible player participated. According to Asato, after further review by the school, the ineligible player participated in only five of the school’s eight league wins. So instead of St. Francis going from 8-0 in ILH D-II to 0-8, he is asking the league to recognize three victories in which the school says the ineligible player did not play.
If the league ends up recognizing the three wins, the Saints would be 3-5. Pac-Five, the team tabbed to take St. Francis’ spot in the state tourney, also finished 3-5, but the Wolfpack’s loss to the Saints is now a win so they’re actually 4-4.
Asato is also asking the league to allow St. Francis to play its game against Kaiser originally scheduled for Aug. 24 that was canceled due to the threat of Hurricane Lane. In addition, Asato is asking the league to reschedule the Aug. 25 Pac-Five vs. Kaimuki game that was also wiped out by Lane. Such a circumstance is highly doubtful, since the Bulldogs are playing Friday in the OIA D-II title game against Roosevelt and are preparing for states after that. Kaiser’s season ended in a playoff loss to Kaimuki on Saturday.
ILH assistant executive director Georges Gilbert, who is also the league’s football coordinator, did not immediately return a Sunday call seeking comment.
If the ILH rules in favor of the appeal — which appears to be a big if in light of the fact that St. Francis already willingly forfeited all of its games — and if somehow Pac-Five and St. Francis play those canceled games and ended in a tie at 4-5, another apparent long shot, by rule a playoff game would be held to determine a state tourney participant.
“This appeal is not intended to challenge the allegation against Saint Francis School,” Asato wrote in his letter. “We recognized our error in failing to ensure the eligibility of our student-athletes. While this error was an oversight and not intentional, our school is taking full responsibility of this mishap and is taking steps to address this matter within our school and implement solutions that ensure proper processes are in place.”