Hard won, hard lost, lessons will be learned
The situation at Loyd Star is unfortunate to say the least. According to the school, the Mississippi High School Activities Association ruled that six student-athletes were ineligible when they played various sports at the school.
Those athletes were ruled ineligible due to residency issues — the athletes in question should have been attending another school district.
The ruling included three athletes on the state championship baseball team. The MHSAA ruled that the school must forfeit its state championship, pay a fine for each ineligible team, return any post-season gate returns and be placed on probation for a year.
Those are significant consequences, and they are likely not a surprise to some at the school. That these students did not live in the school district was not a secret. Some allegedly were allowed to transfer into the district years ago, even though they did not reside in the Loyd Star zone.
Regardless of how the residency issues were brought to light, the rules are the rules. And everyone is expected to follow them, even if those rules seem unfair. Are the school district lines a mess? It’s easy to look at a map and say “yes.”
But that does not mean it is OK to ignore them, even though it likely happens in every district in the state of Mississippi.
Blame rests with many in this situation, but it does not belong with the students. The athletes who competed on the championship baseball team earned the title. They worked hard, practiced hard, played hard and won. No one can take that from them. But due to the mistakes of some, the championship trophy will be taken from them.
There will be hard lessons learned following this situation, and there should be. But how the adults respond will provide the most meaningful lessons for the students at Loyd Star.