GILLETTE, Wyo.--The Gillette College Pronghorn women have had to forfeit 10 of their wins this season due to a player not carrying a full-time status as a student in the 2013 fall semester.
Head Coach Will Rider would not say which player didn't maintain full-time status. In order to be considered a full-time student, you must have at least a 12-credit course load each semester.
Rider said, “this happened way back last semester when one of our players dropped a class online and I didn't catch it, nor did our system catch it.”
Due to the class being dropped, the player fell under the 12-credit minimum.
“It wasn't until last week that we actually caught it,” Rider added.
If the player did not play in a game, that game would not have to be forfeited.
However, as Rider mentioned in an interview, he likes to play all of his players as much as possible to give them experience.
“It just so happens that this individual played in all ten games that we won during that stretch. So, it paid dividends for us down the long haul as far as game experience, but under these circumstances, it didn't do us any services.”
Explaining the situation to his players “was the hard part” for Rider.
“Knowing that they, you know, they've worked so hard and got into a position where they were battling for that hosting position in the region [for the tournament].... It was pretty devastating. It was probably one of the hardest things I've ever done as a coach is to try to explain this to my team.”
Rider is the one that reported the violation to the National Junior College Athletic Association and did so before the Sheridan road game last Saturday. The ruling from the NJCAA didn't come through until yesterday.
The player will not serve a game suspension and Rider said that it was “a mistake on my part, it's a mistake on just not having that safety net in the system to be able to catch that.”
To prevent this from happening again, Coach Rider said that some changes have already been made with the system.
Despite the forfeits, the Pronghorns still earned game experience in the matches.
“You can take away those losses on paper, but we know who won the games. Going into these last six games, as well as going into the Region IX tournament, we know the type of team we are. We know the type of talent that we have and what we are capable of doing,” Rider said.
The wins against Northwest College (Jan. 29th) and Sheridan College (Feb.1st) stay as wins. With the forfeits, the Pronghorn women are 5-18 and tied at last place in the Region IX at 2-8.