Homeless high school football player back with team after resolving residency issue

Yahoo Sports
Jamal Speaks. (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)
Jamal Speaks. (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

A homeless high school football player in Washington, D.C. is back on the team after the school’s principal kicked him off for residency reasons. Jamal Speaks has an offer to play at Temple University, but was kicked off his high school team because he did not have a permanent address.

The 18-year-old Speaks was ineligible to play football at Ballou High School because he was homeless. After his story went public, Speaks received plenty of support. A GoFundMe page for Speaks raised over $20,000 in just a few days. Not only that, but Speaks was offered housing at Covenant House Greater Washington.

The issue over Speaks’ eligibility is still being resolved, though District of Columbia Public officials told NBC 4 Washington it was working with the team and the District of Columbia State Athletic Association (DCSAA) to get things fixed quickly. 

Speaks, who was allowed to rejoin the team, told reporter Monet Anderson he was “excited” and “glad to be back.”

Though Speaks is back, there is still plenty of controversy over the decision to remove him from the team. Speaks’ eligibility came into question after two athletic groups in the District of Columbia offered different rulings on the situation. The DCSAA deemed Speaks eligible to play. The District of Columbia Interscholastic Athletic Association did not. 

Speaks was removed from the team by school principal Willie Robinson, but even that decision has come under fire. District of Columbia Public Schools said Robinson knew about Speaks’ residency issue, but was not told to remove Speaks from the team. District of Columbia Councilman Trayon White questioned that decision, and vowed to get Speaks the support he needed in order to rejoin the team.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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