Dudley Football Team Out of Playoffs

Dudley High School’s varsity football team will not participate in the playoffs this year, after the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s (NCHSAA) board upheld the executive committee’s decision. 

Dudley High reported four ineligible players to the NCHSAA on Monday, Nov. 10. The four players dressed out for the Dudley High varsity football game against Southeast High on Friday, Nov. 7. One played in the game, which Dudley won 50-21.

The four players were on the junior varsity team; that season ended on Thursday, Nov. 6. When that season is over, players may be moved up to the varsity level and may play in the playoffs.

However, according to NCHSAA rules, student athletes may not participate in more than one game within one week. NCHSAA rules say that dressing out for a game is the same as participating.

The NCHSAA determined the penalty for the violation was a $500 fine and Dudley must forfeit the Nov. 7 game. In addition, NCHSAA rules were clarified within the past year to say any game forfeiture that impacts a team’s record and seeding will also impact its participation in playoffs, if brackets are already finalized.

Dudley’s forfeiture of the Nov. 7 game impacts its record and seeding, and since playoff brackets were finalized over the weekend, Dudley will not participate. This was the issue that led the school to file its appeal to the NCHSAA.

During the hearing this morning, it became clear that Dudley likely had violated the one-game-per-week rule at least one other time this season by allowing some players to dress out and/or play for both the junior varsity and varsity games. Further review found the rule was broken in at least four games. 

Guilford County Schools (GCS) anticipates that the team will have to report these games to the NCHSAA as well, which would result in additional forfeitures, making the team ineligible for the playoffs.

“This is our error, and we need to own it,” said Jesse Pratt, Dudley High’s principal. “In GCS and at Dudley High, we want to play fair, and we play by the rules. We sincerely apologize to our students, staff and community, and deeply appreciate all the support they have shown throughout this process.”

An internal investigation is underway to determine exactly how many games must be forfeited, and whether any personnel actions should be taken. The one-game-per- week rule is not new. GCS expects coaches and athletic directors to know and follow NCHSAA rules governing their sports.

Pratt said he planned to work with the district athletic director to improve the school’s processes and procedures regarding athletics. “Clearly, we need to tighten things up so this never happens again,” said Pratt. “Our students deserve better.”