Bolton High football ban stands - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Kontji Anthony

Bolton High football ban stands

The decision to kick Bolton High School out of the playoffs will stand. The state banned the football team from the playoffs when they learned a Bolton team member didn't live in the district.

Bartlett High School is now out of the championship running because of the ruling.

The Bolton High coach went before the TSSAA, Tennessee State Secondary Athletic Association, to beg them to overturn their decision.

But, after an hour long plea and two more hours of talks, the ruling stands, knocking out two schools with one decision.

Shan Criswell's son Jared Worthington will now graduate without a chance at victory on the football field. "My son's a senior now and this is the first time Bartlett has gotten to the playoffs in I don't know how many years," says Criswell.

But Bartlett High football players got caught in some crossfire. Coach Robert Armbruster is disappointed his team was knocked out of the playoffs. "These young men deserve better," says Armbruster.

It was out of their hands. Their competition, Bolton High, learned a player didn't live in the district.

So they offered the information to the TSSAA. The TSSAA decided every team that actually lost to Bolton on the field now won those games.

With other teams now winning more games, the Bartlett Panthers dropped in the ranks. "It's not fair because they won on the field to all of a sudden have this whole thing stripped from them," says Criswell.

So the season's over. Booster Lara McEntyre wants the TSSAA to rethink its rules. "I think it effects more than just our school. It effects the entire state of Tennessee and every football high school organization," says McEntyre.

Criswell add, "If they'd have nullified the wins instead of giving the other teams wins, we would still be in it."

Some parents worry the teens will learn the wrong lesson about honesty. But the coach is trying to turn that around.

"Football's a lot like life and they got one of life's worst, hard lessons. Life's not always fair," says Armbruster.

Still, they lose without putting a foot on the field.

Parents plan to unite to get the TSSAA to change its wording so no one else has to go through this again.

Click here to email Kontji Anthony.

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