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Decision to rule a forfeit in PSL Championship Game overturned by DPS Emergency Manager

By: Jeff Dullack, October 20, 2015, 9:17 pm

On Tuesday, the DPS Emergency Manager, Darnell Earley ruled that Detroit King would not be forced to forfeit Friday’s Detroit Public School League Football Championship Game against Detroit Cass Tech.

The announcement comes less than 24 hours after the PSL released a statement on its Facebook page saying that King would forfeit the game after a brawl between King and Detroit Cody after their game on Friday, October 16th.

Earley released a statement, stating the following:

"I have reviewed the facts that led to the previously announced forfeiture of the Division I Football Championship by Martin Luther King Jr. Sr. High School to Cass Technical High School. And, after meeting with the DPS Athletic Director, administrators and public safety staff, as well as the MLK coaches, I have made the decision to allow the game to proceed as scheduled at Ford Field, on Friday, October 23, 2015."

Earley went on to say in his statement that they are identifying players from King and Cody who are responsible for starting the fight and that the players from King will be suspended for Friday’s game against Cass Tech and that the Cody players who are responsible will also be suspended from the Comet’s season opener in 2016.

Earley also added that other disciplinary actions that were handed down before Tuesday will also stand.

"All other disciplinary sanctions will stand, including the football progams at both schools being placed on probation for one year and forfeiting their 2016-preseason scrimmages.

Further, all players from both King and Cody will be required to participate in the Distric’s Restorative Practices behavior intervention program in conjunction with their continued athletic engagement and perform a substantial amount of community service. These Provisions will be vigorously enforced."

Cass Tech coach Thomas Wilcher said that while the final decision has been made to play the game on Friday, Detroit Public Schools still has difficult decisions to make before Friday’s contest.

“I think that there are still going to be tough decision still to be made,” he said. “I’m happy that that the kids get to play. I hope that Detroit Public Schools makes the right decision on who’s going to play and who’s not going to play after the fight with Cody last week.”

The original decision came from Detroit Public Schools Executive Director of Athletics Alvin Ward, but was overturned this afternoon.

On Monday night, King parents and coaches met with the school board in an effort to appeal the decision to rule the game a forfeit, and the decision was left to be made by Earley on Tuesday.

Wilcher said that he feels that the parents involved in the meeting on Monday and who showed their support on Tuesday could have made an impact on the decision.

“To me, I think it was the parents coming and showing that they’re standing behind their children,” he said.

King won the first meeting between the two teams, 31-28 in overtime.

Wilcher said his team is excited for the second opportunity to play King and also called the decision a bittersweet moment.

“We’re excited about the second opportunity,” he said. “Most importantly, I’m excited that people want to get up and fight about something. It’s kind of a bittersweet thing that’s going on right now, I’ll leave it at that, it’s a bittersweet thing.”

Stay tuned to State Champs! for more on the story.