(Memphis) Students at Ridgeway High School are still in disbelief that one of their student basketball players was no student at all, but apparently a 22-year-old man.
“He looked like a regular kid to me. He looked like a regular kid,” says Daz Harris, an 11th grader at Ridgeway.
Parents tell us some teachers had suspicions, but didn’t act on them and it wasn’t until McKenzie Sewell got into trouble and was questioned by administrators that his story started to unravel.
The school, that was in contention for a state basketball championship, called the TSSAA (Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association) to report the ineligible player.
“I just know in talking with Coach Henning he said I can’t belive they falsified these documents.” said Bernard Childress , Executive Director of the TSSAA.
Ridgeway has to forfeit all games which included the ineligible player and is no longer in contention for the state championship. Many at the school say the penalties are too harsh.
“Everybody just wants the team to get back in the playoffs. We feel that just because it was one person,doesn’t mean everybody had something to do with it,” says Ciaira Flowers, an 11th grader at Ridgeway.
The TSSAA says 19 is the age limit for high school players, but the fake student was also ineligible because he already had a GED.
“For him to just come in like that. When you enrolled in school you should look into stuff like that. They should have known that. It shouldn’t take this long to find out he was 22,” says Melinda Hannah, a parent at Ridgeway High.
The TSSAA says Ridgeway will also have to pay a 250-dollar fine.
It says the school self-reported the violation, so they will not face suspension and this will not effect next year’s basketball season.
No word on the whereabouts of the fake student or any possible charges against him.
Memphis City School officials say because of FERPA (Family Education Rights and Privacy Act) they cannot release information about the student.