A ruling by the governing body of high school athletics in the state of Indiana has overturned an apparent loss to one local girls basketball team -- more significantly, it has impacted the chase for a conference title.
In it's January 17 Executive Committee meeting in Indianapolis, the Indiana High School Athletic Association overturned the North Daviess Lady Cougars' 38-37 win over Shakamak on Jan. 8.
The ruling came as a result of the use of an ineligible player by the Lady Cougars and head coach Ron Knepp.
According to the minutes of the meeting a girls basketball player was ejected from the junior varsity contest and participated in the varsity contest on the same evening.
IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox reported to the committee the action violated rule 8-3 of the organization's bylaws.
The violation also resulted in a warning being issued to the North Daviess program as well as the forfeiture of the game.
Shakamak girls basketball coach Troy Fougerousse told the Daily World that he was made aware of the incident on the night it occurred and of the committee's final ruling late last week.
He also said the violation was reported by North Daviess and came about after a misinterpretation of the by-laws by the game officials.
According to Fougerousse, Knepp contacted the officials for the varsity game and asked them about the situation.
The officials' response to Knepp indicated that the player would not be allowed to participate in the next junior varsity contest.
"Coach Knepp and athletic director (Brent) Dalrymple caught the infraction themselves," Fougerousse said. "They reported it to the IHSAA."
The Executive Committee also noted that the officials were not to blame for the action.
In the minutes they stated "IHSAA licensed officials only hold responsibility for the interpretation of playing rules as prescribed by the National Federation and are in no position to interpret IHSAA by-laws. Proper interpretation and execution of IHSAA by-laws rests with the administration of the member school."
"I don't want a forfeit, but it is what it is," Fougerousse said. "It was a great game that we lost by one point. I would have liked to have won the game, but they are a good team and we just couldn't get it done."
While the ruling officially reverses the loss and drops the Lady Cougars overall record to 14-4, it also drops their league mark to 6-1. It leaves them in a three-way deadlock for the lead in the conference with both White River Valley and Eastern Greene.
The Lady Lakers now stand officially at 7-11 and 5-3 in the SWIAC. SHS has clinched fourth in the league.
Because of the forfeit by North Daviess, the conference champion likely won't be crowned until the final SWIAC game of the 2012-13 season.
Here are the possible scenarios that will determine a SWIAC girls champion:
*White River Valley earns the title outright if they defeat Linton-Stockton on Thursday and Eastern Greene loses to Clay City on Thursday then defeats North Daviess on Jan. 28.
*Eastern Greene and WRV would share the title if EGHS defeats Clay City and WRV defeats Linton-Stockton and Eastern Greene defeats North Daviess.
*North Daviess would win the title outright if WRV loses to Linton-Stockton, Eastern Greene loses to Clay City and North Daviess defeats Eastern Greene.
*North Daviess and WRV would share the title if the Lady Wolverines win on Thursday and Eastern Greene loses to Clay City and North Daviess defeats Eastern Greene.