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Carter forced to forfeit three wins for using ineligible player, could still make postseason


Carter High School linebacker Christian Barksdell (45) recovers a fumble by Kimball High School quarterback Keith Hargraves (11) near the end of the game to seal the victory for Carter on October 3, 2020. The game will now count as a forfeit for Carter.("Stewart F. House" / Special Contributor)


The football team’s head coach says the athlete playing was ‘not an attempt to gain a competitive advantage.’


Carter must forfeit wins in its first three football games this season for using an ineligible player, the 8-4A Division I district executive committee ruled Monday.


Carter, which had been undefeated, will forfeit a nondistrict win against Kimball (24-20) and district victories over North Dallas (52-21) and Lincoln (25-21). Carter will keep Friday’s 34-30 district victory against Wilmer-Hutchins.


Carter, No. 5 in SportsDay’s Class 4A-others area rankings, falls from 4-0 overall and 3-0 in district to 1-3 overall and 1-2 in 8-4A Division I. Lincoln now leads the district with a 3-0 record, and North Dallas improves to 2-1 in district.


Dallas ISD said Lincoln and North Dallas get 15-point wins to count toward the district standings and toward any district tiebreakers that are necessary at the end of the season.


Carter would still make the playoffs with wins in its final two district games, against Pinkston and Roosevelt. But seeding is crucial in Carter’s district, because 8-4A Division I teams will open the playoffs against opponents from 7-4A Division I, which includes three state-ranked teams — No. 1 Argyle, No. 7 Melissa and No. 10 Paris.


Dallas ISD athletic director Silvia Salinas said during Monday’s DEC meeting that after DISD learned of the situation — which was self-reported by Carter — that Carter coach Spencer Gilbert was suspended for last week’s game and was not allowed to coach against Wilmer-Hutchins.


Gilbert and Carter athletic coordinator Harold Jones received a reprimand from Dallas ISD, Salinas said.


The ineligible player withdrew from Carter on March 12 and has not enrolled in another Dallas ISD school, but he played for Carter in the first three games this season. Carter was not aware that the player had withdrawn until doing eligibility checks Thursday.


Gilbert was hired the same day the athlete withdrew, which was the day before Carter was shut down for in-person learning because of the coronavirus pandemic. Gilbert said that a problem with his login credentials only gave him access to incorrect information, which showed that the athlete was still attending Carter.


“I had no access to student records and could not look up transcripts or any other student information,” Gilbert said. "To this day, I still don’t have access to student transcripts and information for all my athletes.


“There was no indication in the system, in any system accessible by me, that [the student in question] was not a student at Carter High School. Playing him in games was not an attempt to gain a competitive advantage.”


Salinas admitted that Gilbert didn’t have access to everything he should have, but said the DEC still had to administer the minimum penalty for playing an ineligible athlete.


“We failed him as a district for not providing the tools and the resources needed to conduct his job properly,” Salinas said. “Unfortunately, by the constitution and contest rules, that was no excuse. Somebody had to have checked the credits and the grades for them to be eligible. Unfortunately, that goes on the campus. It is a unique situation.”


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