EDUCATION + SCHOOLS

Pleasant Grove High students, parents protest football playoff decision

Nov 9, 2023, 2:42 PM | Updated: 8:17 pm

Students protest outside the Utah High School Activities Association on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023. (Ad...

Fans, students, parents, and some coaches from Pleasant Grove High Schoolprotest outside the Utah High School Activities Association on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023. (Adam Small/KSL NewsRadio)

(Adam Small/KSL NewsRadio)

MIDVALE, Utah — Dozens of fans, students, parents, and some coaches from Pleasant Grove High School protested Thursday morning about a controversial football playoff loss and a decision made by the Utah High School Activities Association.

Pleasant Grove’s football team lost 30 to 37 to Skyridge in overtime in their 6A quarterfinal game last week. Later, UHSAA officials learned that Skyridge had an ineligible player on the field. Skyridge Athletic Director Jon Lehman also told KSL NewsRadio the player was a rotational defensive player.

The UHSAA suspended the Falcons’ head coach for two games.

The punishment wasn’t enough for Pleasant Grove fans, who noted that the same offense in 2019 forced the Lone Peak High School football team to forfeit the rest of its season.

Skyridge Assistant Principal Joseph Atwood said that, in 2020, the UHSAA passed a new rule placing player eligibility rule violations on the shoulders of the coach, who’s responsible for the roster. The rule was meant to protect the rest of the kids, who are not responsible for these types of mistakes.

As of Thursday morning, the UHSAA had not returned KSL NewsRadio’s request for comment.

However, Atwood issued the following statement to KSL Newsradio. 

The athletic department at Skyridge High School made a clerical error in a GPA calculation of a student-athlete. The athlete was mistakenly cleared to participate. When the error was discovered, the school immediately reported the violation to Region III Leadership and the UHSAA.  The UHSAA policy and ruling includes the suspension of the head coach, but we take responsibility as an athletic department. The school administration has already instituted systematic changes to prevent future mistakes.”

Atwood also emphasized they care about the Pleasant Grove community and fans, and that he understands why they’re upset.

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Pleasant Grove High students, parents protest football playoff decision