2013 Mohawk field hockey season wiped out
Confusion about the rules of the Greenfield Commonwealth Virtual School has posthumously cost the Mohawk Trail Regional High School field hockey team its 2013 season.
Due to an ineligible player, the Warriors were forced to forfeit all but two games of their 2013 season, which included a trip to the western Massachusetts Division II semifinals.
The issue was brought to the attention of the Mohawk administration after Greenfield High School principal Donna Woodcock saw an article on Holly Brown in The Recorder. Brown, who had been a full-time student at Mohawk until this year and lives in the district, decided to take advantage of the Virtual School for the current school year as she works on her budding musical career.
Unbeknownst to the Mohawk administration, Brown was considered a student of the Virtual School, not a home-schooled student who took classes at the Virtual School, as misinterpreted by the administration. Because the Virtual School is not affiliated with the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association, its students are not allowed to participate on MIAA-affiliated teams. Much in the same way, students attending Four Rivers Charter School in Greenfield are not allowed to play sports for Greenfield High School.
Administrators at Mohawk believed that Brown was a home-schooled student, which made her an eligible athlete. There is no paperwork, however, stating that she is home-schooled and taking classes through the Virtual School. Had she registered as home-schooled, and then been allowed to take virtual-school classes, she would have been eligible to play athletics. Because she is considered solely a student of the Virtual School, she is ineligible.
“We thought she would be treated like any of our other home-schooled kids,” said Joey Kotright-Clark, Mohawk assistant principal. “Quite honestly, I don’t think anyone ever looked into it any more. Someone dropped the ball somewhere. It’s not (Mohawk field hockey coach Lynn Hoeppner’s) fault.”
Brown played in all but two of Mohawk’s games this fall, and the team has to forfeit all the games she played in. Hoeppner said neither she nor Brown had any idea that there was any issue, and Hoeppner said she feels awful for Brown and the entire team.
“I’m devastated,” Hoeppner said. “The girls worked so hard. I was told she was home-schooled this year and that everything had checked out. I assumed everyone else was doing their job.”
Kotright-Clark said the school has been in contact with the MIAA, and in cases like these it’s not likely that any further action will result.