The 2010 Dr. Phillips (Fla.) High football season, in which it was the state runners-up, was already shrouded in controversy before rumors of the use of an ineligible player began to circulate. Now, following a state investigation, it will suddenly be considered the worst season in school history instead of the best.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, the Panthers have been forced to officially forfeit every single game of the 2010 season because they used a player who lived outside the school's district. A Florida High School Activities Association investigation found that the athlete in question had provided a false residential document.
After learning of the violation, Dr. Phillip's unilaterally forfeited all of its victories, just as its state championship game, a 48-27 loss to Miami (Fla.) Central, will also be recorded as a forfeit for posterity.
"It's a disappointment, but at the same time, as soon as we found out this kid was ineligible, we went through the process of finding out what happened," Dr. Phillips Principal Eugene Trochinski told the Sentinel. "We preach all the time that things should be done the right way all the time."
Trochinski confirmed that the player in question was a reserve who only played occasionally, as opposed to a key contributor, yet that hardly mattered when it came to deciding whether Dr. Phillips was fielding a legal team.
Of course, at one point, player eligibility for the Panthers focused on a much more sinister activity than simply falsifying residential forms. In September, Prep Rally wrote about the Dr. Phillips freshman football player who was the victim of such severe hazing that he was left in a hospital in a neck brace. That player, a 15-year-old, was forced to miss more than a week of school while recovering from brain injuries that led to significant cranial swelling.
Amazingly, none of the students involved in the hazing incident were suspended during the season, and the injured student athlete eventually left the football program.
As it turns out, that injured student now missed out on the only 0-15 football season in Dr. Phillips history, even if it once appeared to be much more successful.