Written by Corbett Smith
DeSoto football's next playoff opponent uncertain as UIL investigates Arlington Bowie eligibility issue
ALLEN – An employee running the elevator at Allen Eagle Stadium was attempting some small talk with DeSoto’s assistant coaches after their 42-14 win over Coppell.
“So you’ve got Arlington Bowie next?” she asked.
Little did she know that question is still up for debate, at least until Monday.
According to administrators in Arlington and DeSoto and a report by the El Paso Times, the University Interscholastic League is contemplating disqualifying Bowie – and advancing El Paso Franklin into next week’s Class 5A Division I Region I third round game against DeSoto – because of improperly submitted paperwork from a mid-season transfer.
Bowie (11-1) handily beat Franklin, 31-14, in Midland on Friday.
The player in question transferred to Bowie midway through the season, playing 10 to 15 total snaps as a reserve in three games, including a few plays in Bowie’s 49-3 bi-district win over Keller Central. He did not play against Franklin.
Bowie coach Kenny Perry – who was scouting the game in Allen on Saturday – said that the player had his Previous Athletic Participation Form (PAPF) approved by the 3-5A District Executive Committee.
“He has never been ruled ineligible,” Perry reiterated
The issue, however, is that the school and Arlington ISD did not properly submit a “Parent Residence Waiver,” required with a student isn’t in compliance with residency rules because he or she is living with a parent who is separated. Arlington ISD athletic director O.J. Kemp said she contacted by the league on Nov. 20 regarding the matter.
If the UIL allows Bowie to have a waiver approved retroactively, no action would need to be taken. If not, Franklin could be advanced.
The El Paso Times reported Friday night that El Paso athletic director Ken Owen was contacted by the league, informing him that Franklin should continue practicing as if it won the game.
DeSoto athletic director Pam DeBorde received a similar call from the UIL’s compliance office on Saturday morning. She initially understood from the call that Franklin would be DeSoto’s opponent, but later clarified with the league that it would make its final ruling Monday.
DeSoto coach Claude Mathis said after his team’s win that he had “just received word” from the UIL that the issue was still pending. Mathis said that he’s scouted Bowie twice thus far, and that he will start the week preparing as if Bowie will be his team’s opponent.
“I’ve been assuming that the whole time, until the UIL tells me different,” Mathis said.
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