ISSUE: On Wednesday, March 25 it was identified that St. Louis had played with a player who is not on their roster (Kevin Brown).
ACTIONS: I immediately contacted Coach Tucker to tell her that Kevin would not eligible for Nationals. The player in question participated in several tournaments both before and after Dec 1. Coach Tucker indicated that the team had trouble with registration and submitted a help request. She also stated there was no verification option to verify the changes actually worked.
In 2012, Tucson did not pay the international fee but their international player (Matias Cardozo) played at Sectionals. The commissioner penalized the team. Matias was not allowed to play at nationals, Tucson forfeited all their games, paid a financial penalty, and the coach was suspended for 2 games. Because there were only 3 teams in the Mountain Sectional, Tucson still qualified for Nationals despite the forfeits.
RULING: While Coach Tucker provided proof of an internal discussion between members of the team staff about a registration difficulty, neither she nor any member of the team took responsibility for their roster problem and never contacted the commissioner, secretary, or webmaster directly. They also failed to check their roster – something anyone can do very easily (http://usqra.org/rugby.php)
With this information, and in keeping with the precedent set by coach Gumbert, I told St. Louis that they would forfeit their games at Sectionals. I also contacted the 5th place team (Ohio) to ask if they could field a team on such short notice – if this went the way I expected it to.
APPEAL: St. Louis appealed the commissioner’s decision. The board determined there was no intent to commit fraud and reduced the penalty to a $250 fine and a 2 game suspension for both the player and the coach.