Prep football: Timpview must forfeit 2011 region championship

Prep football • Ineligible player costs Thunderbirds seven Region 8 victories.
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The Timpview football team has lost its 2011 region championship after state and region officials discovered an ineligible athlete played for the Thunderbirds during their 7-0 run against Region 8 opponents.

The Region 8 principals decided Tuesday afternoon to strip the program of its region wins, and Timpview principal Todd McKee said the school has no plans to appeal. It will have no affect on this season's record.

The player, who is a senior on the football team, transferred to the school in January 2011 and played in all of the team's region games last year without submitting any paperwork for eligibility.

He's eligible this season because more than a year has passed since his transfer. No other Timpview sports should be affected, Utah High School Activities Association Director Rob Cuff said.

The violation first was brought to the UHSAA's attention early last week. After McKee, who became principal after the transfer, looked into the matter, he reported to the region that the player was ineligible last football season.

First-year coach Cary Whittingham said there was some concern that there would be penalties for the current season as well, and the team sat the player against Orem last week. But since it appears to only affect last year, the team will move forward.

"We're not even involved in that issue, and the best way to approach it is to not let it affect us," Whittingham said. "The kid was upset, sure, but he's smiling now that we know he can play now."

Still, the sanction cuts off the Thunderbirds' string of consecutive region championships, which they had won since 2005. Maple Mountain finished second in the region last year before losing to Highland in the first round of the playoffs. Timpview leads the Region 8 standings this year as well.

Timpview historically has been one of the state's most successful programs, winning state championships between 2005 and 2009. Coach Louis Wong led the Thunderbirds to the Class 4A semifinals before falling to East last year.

The past calendar year, however, has been difficult. The program was audited. Wong was forced out by the Provo City School District over questionable fiscal practices, and he lost his teaching license. And the new revelation of the ineligible player could mean the program could be sanctioned further when the UHSAA Executive Committee meets Nov. 7. McKee came to the school after the fact, but he acknowledged that there had been a slip-up on the school's part.

Both school and state officials declined to identify the student in question. —

A closer look

• Region 8 principals decide Timpview must forfeit its seven region wins and region title from 2011.

• State officials discovered the Thunderbirds had played an ineligible athlete.

• Timpview principal Todd McKee says the school will not appeal.