The Mississippi Delta Community College Trojans’ magical run has come to an end. But not because the Trojans lost a game on the court, but based on what MDCC coach Derrick Fears calls a big misunderstanding.
MDCC was forced to forfeit their semifinal state tournament game Wednesday against No. 1 seed Gulf Coast due to the ineligibility of a walk-on backup point guard.
MDCC sophomore Glenn Ford, a Greenville native who played at Cophiah-Lincoln last season, was ruled ineligible due to “incomplete paperwork filed with the national office of the National Junior College Athletic Association,” MDCC Sports Information Director Joe Wilson said in an e-mail.
In a phone interview, Fears said a transfer waiver was not filed on Ford’s behalf. However, a release was submitted, and “it’s the same thing,” said Fears.
Ford, who played at Greenville-Weston and spent one season at Co-Lin with MDCC teammate Anthony Evans, joined the squad in January after spending his first semester in Moorhead as just a student. Fears said he needed a backup point guard, so Ford joined the team this year, playing only “a few minutes here and there.”
Fears also added Wednesday night that every game Ford has played in will be forfeited. Fears, however said this morning that he is unsure if they will force the Trojans to forfeit regular season games as well.
Fears said his team was notified of the issue during warm-ups prior to Wednesday’s game.
“The floor was soaking wet (from the players’ tears),” said Fears. “These young guys were crying because old guys can’t take losing.”
Gulf Coast was reportedly awarded a 7-0 victory over MDCC in Wednesday’s game.
Fears said he plans to seek legal counsel regarding the matter.
“I’m going to sue because that’s something we can’t get back,” he said. “…I’m not going to give up on it.”
Efforts to reach MACJC Commissioner Jim Southward were unsuccessful by press time. MDCC defeated Jones County Junior College 73-72 Tuesday night on a 3-point buzzer beater from Jestonia Kimber.
Pearl River will now face Gulf Coast today in the championshp game. And MDCC will be replaced in the regional tournament by Itawamba, who Delta defeated last week in their regular season finalè to advance to the tournament.
“It’s one thing if you beat me on the court. I can walk off with my head held high,” said Fears. “But to do what they did, that’s wrong.”
Fears added this morning that he will meet with other community college coaches Friday regarding the issue.