Tuesday, November 21, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Lighthouse Wolves forfeit four victories

Leader sports editor

The Jacksonville Lighthouse Charter School boys’ basketball team will have to forfeit the first four wins of the season, and will be without two more players for the remainder of the year. That brings the total number of players JLC has lost to various eligibility rules to three since the start of basketball season.

Friday’s ruling concerned two transfers from Jacksonville High School. One player, Ke’Shawn McLennan, was ruled academically ineligible and another, Malik Smith, was ruled ineligible according to what’s known as the 365 rule.

Smith had enrolled at JHS at the beginning of the school year, and transferred to Lighthouse after one week. But according to Arkansas High School Activities Association, any transfer during the school year without a bona fide change of domicile is ineligible for one calendar year.

Smith has not played yet this year due to an injury, but McLennan had appeared in all four wins, and was the team’s second-leading scorer. He had a season-high 27 points against Dermott on Nov. 10.

Officials at JHS notified theAHSAA about the players’ ineligibility after the Dermott game. There was an apparent discrepancy between the transcript received by Lighthouse upon the student-athlete’s transfer, and the one JHS has on file from last year, according to one person familiar with JLCS basketball. But JLCS is out of school this week and no one was available for questions.

A few weeks earlier, Light-house lost Gerald Doakes, one of the nation’s top prospects for the class of 2020, to the 365 rule after Doakes had enrolled at NLRHS before coming back to Jacksonville Lighthouse. He has since transferred to Jacksonville High School, where he will be eligible to play next semester.

Since Doakes lives in the Jacksonville-North Pulaski Special School District, the 365 rule is not in effect for JHS.

The Wolves had a record of 4-2 when coach Kelvin Parker was informed of the ruling by the Arkansas High School Activities Association. The Wolves have since beaten Lisa Academy on Saturday at the North Little Rock High School Diabetes Awareness benefit, giving the team an official season record of 1-6.

Lighthouse has not played a conference game, so playoff seedings will not be affected by the forfeits.