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Oct. 19, 2006

Athletes' grades illegally changed to meet eligibility at area schools

by Adam Yalowitz, Print Copy Editor and Managing News Editor
In response to allegations that the grades of five students at Einstein were inappropriately changed so that the students could remain on sports teams, the MCPS Office of School Performance (OSP) has completed a thorough review of all 9,000 athletes at each of the 25 high schools in the county.

The report, commissioned by Deputy Superintendent Frieda Lacey, found that the grades of five students at Einstein were illegally changed to allow students to play on sports teams. Nineteen other ineligible students at Einstein were also playing on another 12 athletic teams. Additional discrepancies have been attributed to human error, not purposeful grade changes.

Several personnel face investigation regarding the inappropriate grade changes.

In an Oct. 18 memo to the Board of Education, Superintendent Jerry Weast outlined the measures that MCPS is taking in response to the findings of the investigation. "All of the games where ineligible students played will be forfeited," wrote Weast. "Ineligible students will be removed from the teams, and their grades will be returned to their original status."

MCPS Chief Operating Officer Larry Bowers identified eight schools that currently have a total of 46 ineligible students playing on sports teams.

The schools affected were Bethesda-Chevy Chase, with five ineligible students; Winston Churchill, with two students; Einstein, with 24 students; Quince Orchard, with two students; Walter Johnson, with three students; Watkins Mill, with six students; Wheaton, with three students; and Walt Whitman, with one student.

MCPS notified students, parents and staff today of the findings of the investigation.

According to Bowers, 99.5 percent of student athletes were not affected by the findings of the investigation. "It is clear from the review that the vast majority of our high school athletic programs and teams are following the eligibility rules," wrote Bowers in an Oct. 18 memo to Weast.

Bowers noted that while he knows that the forfeited games will upset to many students who did not violate school policy, MCPS must respond punitively. "We understand that the forfeitures will be disappointing," wrote Bowers. "Nonetheless, MCPS is pursuing the right course of action. The academic integrity of our school system and each of its individual schools is paramount and cannot be compromised."

For the full story, check out the next print edition of Silver Chips in early November.



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  • Blazer on October 19, 2006 at 5:58 PM
    Yay, we don't have any inelegible people!
  • (View Email) on October 19, 2006 at 6:06 PM
    wow! no one else has this story up yet! not even the washington post! way to go chips!
  • Ravi Umarji on October 19, 2006 at 7:21 PM
    Way to go Adam. Awesome, timely reporting.
  • le anonymous on October 19, 2006 at 11:33 PM
    le scoop! w00t!
  • FABULOUS on October 19, 2006 at 11:40 PM
    Great job Adam, scooped the Post by a day.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/19/AR200610190173 le/2006/10/19/AR2006101901734.html
    Of course they don't credit Silver Chips in any way, but it's still a nice feeling.
  • Anna on October 20, 2006 at 10:09 AM
    I find this incredibly dissapointing and unfair. I am so angered that these other schools got away with putting ineligible students on the field while we Blair kids have to suffer the consequences of having ineligible athletes. Note to these schools: what you are doing is CHEATING! You deserve to forfeit the games. Our Blair teams would be better if anyone could play, but we actually follow the rules. Thank you Adam, Valerie Ervin, and others who realize that this problem needs to be addressed RIGHT NOW!
  • YAY BLAIR on October 21, 2006 at 11:42 AM
    WOOT WOOT WE DIDNT MAKE THE LIST!!!
  • AthleteMom (View Email) on October 21, 2006 at 5:31 PM
    What does Valerie Ervin have to do with this? You give her way too much credit.
  • scriscious on October 21, 2006 at 6:17 PM
    this is sweet! now maybe our football team will have like... a couple wins lol! and plus, how good is our soccer team if theyre undefeated with all these assclowns cheating in the other schools?? oh yeah... were viscious
  • Libertarian (View Email) on October 22, 2006 at 1:50 AM
    Which sports? It wouldn't be fair if a school had ineligible players in soccer so had to forefit football games. Which sports were they and were any Blair teams' records affected?
  • Cathy Johnson (View Email) on October 23, 2006 at 9:28 AM
    The article does not mention disciplinary action against the employees responsible. Forfeiting games punishes students who did nothing wrong. I hope the adults responsible will also be held accountable.
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