The Tigers, who are ranked No. 2 in the final Class 2-A poll of the season, will have to forfeit nine wins from their season.
The forfeits come after a clerical error was discovered that allowed an ineligible player to compete for the Tigers. The WCHS athletic department upon discovering the error late in the season (during the final two weeks) self-reported the mistake to the IHSAA, who then ruled that the Tigers would have to give up nine wins.
The player in question has since been declared eligible by the IHSAA after transferring to WCHS. Anson said the player is on the sectional roster as Warsaw plays Wawasee Wednesday night in the Plymouth Sectional at 5 p.m.
Warsaw, under the direction of coach Scott Bauer, has outscored its opponents 49-7 this season and lost just 1-0 to Fort Wayne Carroll on Sept. 8 as its only field loss. The Tigers lost in the semi state final in 2011 to complete their season at 18-4-1.
Anson, in his second year as the WCHS athletic director, said procedures involving transfers are being reviewed to make sure this does not happen again.
“We will correct our procedures and have already begun changes to do so,” Anson said. “We have been communicating with the IHSAA about this. We do not want this to happen again.”
Warsaw coach Scott Bauer is still trying to come to grips with the situation.
“I’m devastated for the boys,” said Bauer in a phone interview Tuesday morning. “They worked so hard this year to have the success they’ve had on the field. It’s very difficult for them and for our entire coaching staff.
“We started working through this two weeks ago, so I’ve been living with the pain of what could happen for a while. The boys were just numb, crestfallen and numb, when they found out Monday after practice. We’re all hurting. Having to forfeit games you won is the worst thing that can happen to a program.”
Bauer said the player in question was a reserve, who had played sparingly during the season.
“My first concern was for him because this was no fault at all of his,” said Bauer of the player in question. “He’s okay.”
Bauer says it will be tough, but his talented team has to move forward with the sectional starting Wednesday night.
“We just have to get refocused,” said Bauer. “I don’t know yet what I’ll tell our guys at practice tonight (Tuesday). I’ll just have to see how they are feeling. I’ll probably talk to our captains and we’ll move forward from there. We’re still capable of making a great run in the postseason. I think the sectional is ours to lose and then the regional will be a dogfight.
“This does not diminish at all what this team did on the field this season. They should be proud of that. We’re No. 2 in the state this week. That’s the highest ranking ever for the team. The guys should feel proud of that. They earned that.”
The following is a copy of the letter given to members of the team Monday by Anson explaining the situation.