It’s anonymous email and letter season for some high school sports fans.
With the state hockey tournament set to start, and its becoming clear that only a few berths remain in the grasp of some teams, there is the occasional complaint — usually anonymous — that a team in the running is cheating.
The Star Tribune reports that someone mailed the Minnesota State High School League an anonymous list of names and information — gleaned from an obvious Internet search — of members of the Achiever Academy girl’s hockey team who the complainant says shouldn’t be allowed to play on the team.
Whoever sent the information searched property records and scoured the Twitter accounts of the girls to provide evidence that they’re ineligible to play.
The e-mail, obtained by the Star Tribune, cited players being ineligible either because parents lived out of state or families did not relocate when players transferred to Achiever, a private online school that offers intensified hockey training. The e-mail suggested that one player recently moved out of state.
High school league rules require that a student who transfers from another state must live with his or her parent(s) and other minor siblings at the new in-state address on a regular basis for the duration of his or her enrollment. Parents must also vacate their former residence.
If the student transfers within the state, a change of family residency to another public school district attendance area is required to maintain eligibility.
Who sent it? Obviously nobody knows.
The team plays St. Paul United on Thursday for the right to play in the tournament.
“It’s really a Tier I program that’s got kids from all over,” the coach of St. Paul United told the Star Tribune said. “They could go to state and win it all. If that happens, what does that say? I’m not sure.”
At minimum, it says they’re probably a better team. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re cheating. The high school association official says he wishes the anonymous person had stepped up earlier.
The situation is reminiscent of the Prairie Seeds Academy disqualification from the state soccer tournament on its eve in 2012 when information was provided that a player was ineligible.
There’s a way to limit a lot of this: Don’t let schools in Minnesota be hockey factories for out-of-state kids.