Kentucky bans Fairview from playoffs
WESTWOOD, Ky. -- Fairview High School's historic run to the Kentucky Class A state title game in 2012 never happened. Or, at least, it won't be documented.
The Eagles are also losing the coach who built the program into a perennial winner, as Nate McPeek confirmed he will resign after the team's final regular season game Friday night at James N. Gamble Montessori in Cincinnati.
Fairview will vacate every win from the 14-1 2012 campaign, as well as four victories from this season's 8-1 start, because of eligibility violations, according to a statement from Kentucky State High School Athletic Association.
In addition, the school will be suspended from the 2013 playoffs, must pay a $5,000 fine and return all trophies earned in 2012. Also, Fairview will submit to a district-wide coaches education administrators meeting run by the school and the KHSAA.
Those sanctions were recommended by the Fairview School District after its own internal investigation.
The KHSAA imposed additional sanctions, placing the football team on probation through 2017 and forcing the team to suspend all football-related activities from Nov. 5 through the start of spring practice in 2014. A KHSAA assistant commissioner will also be assigned to work with Fairview Independent Schools Superintendent Bill Musick to see that the right policies and procedures are in place in the district's athletic programs.
The Eagles' 2012 playoff wins and appearance in the state title game, the first in the program's history, will be removed from state records.
A statement from the KHSAA said the school allowed an unidentified player to enroll at the school and participate on the team without a proper check into the player's enrollment history.
The result, according to the statement, was that the student was allowed to play for five seasons in one sport, which exceeds the four years of eligibility allotted after a player is promoted to high school from the eighth grade.
McPeek read from a prepared statement during a telephone interview Friday afternoon, asserting he was unaware of the situation.
"I had no knowledge of a student being academically ineligible," he said. "I have put my heart and soul into this program, and the results have spoken for themselves.
"I want to thank everyone for their support, especially the players, coaches and parents. I love them dearly and am sorry they have had to go through this."
Musick did not return a phone call seeking comment Friday, but did make a statement jointly with the KHSAA, saying Fairview will not appeal the state's decision.
"For 55 years, Fairview Schools have had an outstanding relationship with the Kentucky High School Athletic Association. Today's ruling will not change that relationship as this incident with the ineligible player was handled with the utmost professionalism by the commissioner and his staff," Musick said. "We as a staff at Fairview Schools accept the responsibility for what has transpired. ... our sole focus is moving forward from this situation with renewed focus and energy on managing a fully compliant athletic program."
KHSAA commissioner Julian Tackett issued a statement saying Fairview "will continue to be a valuable member of the association."
"It is my hope that this setback, and the many lessons learned by all of those involved, will only serve to strengthen their resolve to do things correctly and fairly on behalf of the students, coaches, administrators and fans; and based on their ongoing internal efforts, will ensure that this type of situation is not repeated," Tackett said.
Also noted in the statement was that the KHSAA will provide no further comment on the issue.
The KHSAA confirmed last week it was conducting an investigation into Fairview's program, which has had a winning record every season since McPeek, a former Marshall University lineman, took over as head coach in 2008.
The coach said Friday he hopes to lead another program soon, and that people who know him know his character and dedication.
McPeek's uncle, Garry McPeek, resigned as principal and athletic director at Fairview last week, according to Musick. Garry McPeek also stepped down from his role as an assistant coach on the Eagles football staff. Musick said Garry McPeek has accepted a position as a physical education teacher at Fairview Elementary.