Officials: EHS didn’t use ineligible player in Skyview victory

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By Michael Hicks

Officials from the Colorado High School Activities Association, Evergreen High School and Jeffco Public Schools found that EHS didn’t use an ineligible player during its 10-9 varsity football victory over Skyview on Oct. 6. CHSAA received material — phone call correspondence and letters – last month from Skyview officials about the possible infraction by Evergreen High School.

Bert Borgmann, an assistant commissioner for CHSAA, which oversees high school athletics in Colorado, said via e-mail that the issue is a matter between the schools.

“We have no information that would indicate a forfeit is required,” Borgmann said.

Jeffco athletic director Jim Thyfault says he’s spoken to officials at Skyview twice in recent weeks, as well as CHSAA assistant commissioners Borgmann and Bud Ozzello. Thyfault noted that Evergreen High School has a stricter policy, and it’s standard for that policy to be enforced opposed to the one that CHSAA has.

“The policy was adhered to, and we have looked into it,” Thyfault said. “It’s a non-issue.”

Per CHSAA’s constitution under Article 17, a student-athlete is ineligible to play if he/she has two or more failing grades. CHSAA’s constitution also allows, according to Article 17, Section 17.20.1, that participating school districts and schools have the right to impose stricter standards for eligibility.

Evergreen High School principal Brandon Brekke concurred with Thyfault’s assessment.

“We are required to uphold the integrity of eligibility policies from CHSAA, Jeffco Public Schools and Evergreen High School,” Brekke said. “It’s a process that we engage in on a weekly basis to make sure that we hold students accountable for eligibility standards. Concerning this particular matter, it has been addressed by myself and our school district athletic director, and the matter is now closed. No ineligible players are allowed to play in any activity, bar none. The matter was addressed immediately, and questions were answered. No violations occurred.

“We aren’t in the business of making exceptions for students, no matter what sport they are in. I don’t care if they’re the star quarterback. The eligibility policy has been applied and will be applied. We will uphold the integrity of that.”

Lynn Setzer, chief school and community engagement officer for Mapleton Public Schools, confirmed Friday morning that Skyview athletic director Susan Gerhart received anonymous phone calls and letters noting EHS’ potential use of an ineligible player. Setzer said all communication was turned over to CHSAA.

Setzer said that the material was sent to CHSAA so that it could “just take a look” at it.

“We got phone calls, we got letters,” Setzer said.

The Skyview game was the last coached by longtime EHS head coach Rob Molholm. Molholm, who had coached the Cougars since 2009, led the team to four conference titles and six playoff appearances. He’s the winningest coach in program history.

Molholm was placed on administrative leave on Oct. 9 following a disciplinary issue that may’ve been handled improperly. Molholm’s suspension hasn’t affected his duties as a social studies teacher at the school. Assistant coach David Leek has coached the team in the interim.

Evergreen (9-1 overall, 5-0 3A Metro West) won the conference title by one game over Skyview (9-1, 4-1) because of that early October victory. Both teams qualified for the 3A state playoffs, which begin this week. However, Skyview drew the No. 9 seed and a first-round road game at Longmont. Evergreen, because it finished in the top 16 in the final CHSAA RPI standings and won the Metro West crown, earned the No. 7 seed and a first-round home playoff game against Rifle.