After a story book run into the MACJC State Tournament, the book has closed on the Mississippi Delta Community College men's basketball team.
The Trojans were removed from the tournament after a MACJC school notified Commissioner Jim Southward of an eligible player — Glenn Ford — on the Trojans squad.
MDCC was notified of the decision Wednesday during warm-ups prior to their semifinals game against No. 1 seed Gulf Coast.
"To the best that we know," said Southward, "I received a phone call (Wednesday) from one of our other schools stating that they suspected that (MDCC) had an ineligible player who did not have a transfer waiver form."
Southward, who said he did not want to reveal the name of the school that brought the situation to the forefront, added that he called MDCC Athletic Director Domino Bellipani who notified MDCC coach Derrick Fears of the issue. An investigation concluded that a transfer waiver form had not been submitted on Ford's behalf.
Southward said he then contacted the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) for "advisement since we were in the middle of the state tournament."
The game was eventually called off and considered a "non-contest," not a forfeit, said Southward. The decision eliminated MDCC and gave new life to Itawamba, who replaced the Trojans in the tournament.
"If (an athlete) has been at another school within one calendar year, they have to have a transfer waiver," he said. Ford, a Greenville-Weston graduate who played at Copiah-Lincoln during the 2009-10 season, filled out a release form, but not a transfer waiver form, said Fears.
Southward said no decision has been made whether MDCC will have to forfeit their regular season games that Ford played in. That decision, he says, will come from the NJCAA.
Fears said this morning that he hopes to meet with other MACJC coaches Friday about the situation. The coach also said that he has considered taking legal action regarding the situation.
MDCC advanced to the tournament after winning their final five regular season games, and defeated Jones County in the quarterfinals on a Jestonia Kimber buzzer beater.
"It's happened before where teams have to forfeit games," commissioner Southward said, " but nothing quite like this one."