Cardinal Ritter — a prominent high school football team in Missouri — is forfeiting its season after using an ineligible player, school president Tamiko Amistead announced Friday. Additionally, all of the team’s coaches have been relieved of their duties, and the athletic director will retire after the investigation into the incident concludes.
Just last week, MaxPreps ranked Cardinal Ritter as the No. 1 small school football team in the nation. The team was undefeated through seven gams this season.
The school self-reported that it used running back Bill Jackson, who was supposed to be serving a one-game suspension, in the season-opener Aug. 31. Jackson got ejected from the 2018 Class 3 State Championship, which triggered a one-game ban under National Federation of State High School Associations rules.
On opening night, Jackson wore No. 24, which was identified as freshman Marvin Burks on the roster. When Jackson played again the following week, he returned to his usual No. 4.
Jackson has unique and identifiable tattoos on his arms, which were visible in photographs published by the St. Louis Post Dispatch from both games. Additionally, according to the Post Dispatch, now-former head coach Brandon Gregory posted videos on Instagram of what appears to be Jackson (wearing No. 24) leading the team in a pre-game huddle Aug. 31; he posted a similar video, but with Jackson wearing No. 4, a week later.
Missouri State High School Activities Association Executive Director Kerwin Urhahn “accepted Ritter's self-imposed sanctions,” the Post Dispatch reported. Jackson’s suspension will still be in place if the team resumes action next year.
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