MARIETTA, Ga. - It was a major blow to an Atlanta area high school football team. Marietta High School is being forced to forfeit all of its eight wins last year after an investigation by the Georgia High School Association determined two of the players were ineligible. The program will also have to pay a $1,500 fine and has been placed on "severe warning status" for the coming year.
In 2017 the Blue Devils were hot. The team had it's best season in years. Their record was 8-2. But now all 8 of those wins are being wiped off the record books.
The Georgia High School Association said two of the team's starters, who played in every winning game, don't live in the district. School officials said both players have parents who teach for the Marietta School District, but at the elementary level. To be eligible to play, the parents must work for the high school.
In a statement, school officials said it was an error. The statement reads in part:
Sarah Hawkins has children in the Marietta School District. She thinks the penalties are extreme, especially since it's punishing the entire team.
"I feel terrible for the team, that's not fair to those kids who have worked so hard," said Hawkins.
Justin Wells said it's all about playing by the rules.
"I don't think it's fair to the other kids, but I think it's fair, I think it sends a statement and hopefully we won't see anything like that again," said Wells.
The GHSA said this is an ongoing investigation and the school district has appealed.
There were also allegations of recruiting, but the investigation did not find any evidence of that.