Desert Pines conducts eligibility probe

Desert Pines’ boys basketball team ended the regular season in first place in the Northeast League.

Whether the Jaguars will stay there still is up in the air.

Desert Pines, which finished 11-1 in league play after Friday’s 67-66 loss at Eldorado, is investigating a situation that might result in the forfeiture of some victories.

School principal Tim Stephens and Clark County School District executive director of athletics Ray Mathis confirmed the school is investigating whether it used an ineligible player for part of the season.

“We’re in the middle of investigating it right now,” Stephens said. “We don’t have all the information yet.”

Stephens said the issue involves absences from a class, but Desert Pines was unable to complete its investigation because the teacher of the class, who also coaches another sport at the school, wasn’t in school Friday. Stephens said the investigation probably will not be complete until school resumes Tuesday.

“If we have to forfeit games, that’s fine,” he said. “Integrity is of the utmost importance.”

But that could cause problems for several other schools. The Sunrise Region boys playoffs are scheduled to begin Tuesday with Desert Pines set to host Coronado.

“Nobody has proven or declared anybody ineligible at this point,” Mathis said. “The school is still investigating.”

If Desert Pines is required to forfeit a game or games, playoff seedings and even the composition of the playoff field could be affected.

“We’re not canceling or postponing the playoffs,” said Eddie Bonine, executive director of the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association. Bonine was in Winnemucca on Friday for the state wrestling tournament.

It’s also unclear if the situation is limited to Desert Pines or if other schools in the league also might be investigating their teams.

“I don’t know if that’s true or not,” Mathis said. “Each situation has to be investigated at the school site. The only thing we can do is to have the schools investigate if they used an ineligible player.”

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