FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — The football team at Jack Britt High School won its first two games. The team led the conference but then suffered its first loss of the season -- and it was not even on the playing field.
School officials realized two of the players on the Buccaneers football team were too old to be on the team. They are 19 years old and not eligible for high school football.
When school officials reported the error, state authorities turned Britt's victories into losses and fined the school $500.
Coach Richard Bailey broke the news to the team.
"I said, 'Look guys, my record's gone to 0-2,'" he said. "I said, 'Your record's still 2-0. When you look back five, 10 years from now, you're going to remember them as wins.'"
Officials said the school is using a new computer system. The old system checked birthdays; the new one does not. Athletic director Mindy Vickers caught the problem.
"I was very disappointed in myself for not doing a better job, checking the eligibility the first time around. I thought I had a good system in place and I did not," she said.
The two 19-year-olds are no longer on the team. The school will not release their names.
School officials also noticed a junior varsity player was ineligible because of his grades. They reported that as well. The player is allowed to return next year if he meets certain requirements when the school year ends.