The forfeiture of wins cuts Butler out of the race for the Conference Championship.
EL DORADO — The Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference has notified Fort Scott they will have to forfeit all of their 2019 football games due to the use of an ineligible player.
This has huge ramifications on the conference itself. Prior to the notification of forfeits, Fort Scott was having one of their best season in a decade. They had a season opening win over Highland and Coffeyville to go 2-0 for the first time since 2009.
There hadn't been a winning season, or a season that had five or more wins since 2013.
According to Fort Scott, a non-conference school had contacted the NJCAA in regards to the use of ineligible player, who remains unknown at this point, and on Oct. 15 the NJCAA told Fort Scott of the allegations.
Fort Scott had confirmed it had obtained the release and transfer tracking form of said student-athlete. However, they did not have the transfer waiver form, which resulted in the violation.
Fort Scott obtained the form on Oct. 18, making said player eligible for the remainder of the 2019 season.
Fort Scott appealed the initial ruling of forfeiture but was denied through the appeal process. The only sanctions issued is the forfeit of said games.
According to Fort Scott, coaches and the player had no knowledge of the missing document.
This changes the whole league. Before the forfeit, there were multiple ways teams could win the Jayhawk Conference. The only thing we knew for sure is that it was going to be a three-team tie for the conference.
The conference by-laws do not give tie-breaking scenarios, therefore, it just goes down as a three-way tie.
With the forfeiture of games, it is only a two-way tie at best. Independence is the most affected. They move to 7-1 in the Jayhawk conference, with a lone loss to Hutchinson.
Independence was chosen by the Jayhawk coaches back in July to finished sixth in the conference. While the Order of Finish is rarely right, it apparently gave the Pirates motivation as they've rebounded well from a season ago where they went 2-9.
Independence has shot up the NJCAA Rankings. They're up to No. 13 in the most recent rankings.
After the abrupt departure of their head coach, Jason Brown, Pirates made big moves and brought in players that fit the new philosophy of the team and the community.
New head coach Kiyoshi Harris has instilled a different attitude within the Pirates. It has shown as they've won the conference championship in Harris' first season at the helm.
Garden City, who's only loss is to Independence, is 6-1 within the conference and play at Butler on Saturday.
Hutchinson and Butler had their chances at a three-way championship vanished with the forfeitures. Though Butler and Hutch beat Fort Scott, they were not given an automatic win. This forces their 5-2 conference records will hold firm. The best they can do is tied for second.
Had Butler beat Garden City on Saturday at BG Products Veterans Sports Complex, the Grizzlies would have won their first conference championships since 2015.
At best the Grizzlies will be playing spoilers and for a potential bowl game. If Butler wins, they'll give the Independence Pirates the out right conference crown and will have bettered their bowl resume.