Terry Sanford football team reinstated

November 13, 2009 4:35:15 AM PST
Officials announced Thursday evening that Terry Sanford High School's football team will be able to participate in the playoffs.Lawyers for several of the team's football players -along with students and parents- went before a judge at the Cumberland County Courthouse Thursday afternoon to discuss the controversy surrounding Terry Sanford's football team.

Monday, the state ruled Terry Sanford High School used an ineligible football player during the season.

Rick Strunk with NCHSAA said league officials were contacted by school officials on Nov. 9 about the player, forcing the school to forfeit all of its regular season games.

Officials ruled Malakai Mills was ineligible during the season after opening an investigation into grade changing.

The ruling knocked the team out of the playoffs and ended its battle for the state championship.

Click here to read more about the controversy

However Thurday evening, when the players asked a judge to be reinstated to let them participate in the playoffs, it was granted.

They said no one was told Mills was ineligible -including the coach- convincing a judge to temporarily reverse the North Carolina High School Athletic Association's decision, allowing the kids play Saturday.

Mills says he didn't do anything wrong and is thrilled to get back on the field.

"I was angry, but like I said before, I knew it would come out right," Mills said. "They said it would, I'm just happy."

However, the Executive Director of the N.C. High School Athletic Association is not pleased with the ruling.

"We are very disappointed in the judge's decision in this matter, but we are planning to be in court on Monday morning," Charlie Adams said. "With the case pending, it is appropriate that we have no further comment at this time."

The controversy began last week during an investigation of grade irregularities and the possible involvement of Terry Sanford's now-ex-principal, Diane Antolak.

Cumberland County Schools confirmed Thursday that it has appointed a replacement for the suspended principal.

Antolak was suspended last week without pay while the board investigated allegations of grade changing.

Mindy Vickers will serve as the new principal. She formerly served as principal at Cross Creek Early College High School at Fayetteville State University.

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