Cordele Dispatch, Cordele, GA

February 24, 2012

Player suspensions force Wilcox boys to forfeit state tournament opener

Harvey Simpson
Cordele Dispatch

Rochelle — The suspension of three-fourths of team members for disciplinary reasons has forced Wilcox High’s Patriots to forfeit tonight’s scheduled state basketball tournament game vs. Randolph-Clay. The girls game will go on as scheduled.

Head coach George Kennedy would give no specifics for the action taken by Wilcox County school superintendent Steve Smith and Wilcox High principal Chad Davis. Kennedy stressed he supported their decision.

“All I’ll say is that we had nine players involved Thursday afternoon in an off-campus situation when their actions led to their suspensions for disciplinary reasons,” Kennedy acknowledged. “With just three players left, we had no choice but to forfeit tonight’s game.”

Smith also wound not give specific reasons for the forfeiture, noting “This wasn’t an easy decision. I think it’s the first time we’ve ever forfeited an athletic event in school history.

“Players are upset. Fans are upset. We felt like it was in the best interest of the school to make this decision.”

The Patriots thus finish with a final 20-5 record in what had been an otherwise promising season that had already produced a runner-up finish to Lanier County in last weekend’s Region 2-A tournament.

With the win accorded them by forfeit, Randolph-Clay’s boys, the No. 3 seed from Region 1-A, thus technically became the first Class A team in the Georgia High School Association to advance to next week’s Sweet 16 round.

They will meet the winner of tonight’s Taylor County-Wheeler County contest being played in Butler.