Myers Park HS administrators missed ‘red flags,’ should’ve investigated six football players registered at one address, NCHSAA commissioner says
WBTV Investigates: School district won’t comment on whether CMS staff face discipline.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – When Myers Park High School announced last month that its football team would forfeit its wins from the past season, principal Robert Folk and athletic director Brian Poore said they reported the violations as soon as they learned of them in January.
“It is my intention to lead with integrity and not deception,” the email, jointly signed by Folk and Poore, said. “I will say the same about the athletic programs of Myers Park High School.”
But a WBTV investigation has obtained internal students records showing six football players registered last fall as living at one address and two players registered at another.
According to the state’s top high school athletic official, the documents mean Myers Park administrators had enough information to investigate last fall.
According to the records, Lucas Lenhoff, Amir Turner, Jaiden Scott, Marquese Chapman, Camarion Thornton and Isaac Hill were all registered as living at 2451 Sedley Road, Charlotte, NC 28211.
The house was recently torn down and the lot is currently a patch of cleared dirt.
Two other players, Cohen Fuller and Donald Sias, were registered as living at an apartment in the Myers Park area, records show.
Lenhoff and his family decided to move to Charlotte from California last year after the high school football season in California was in jeopardy due to COVID-19.
In an interview on Fox News Channel, Lenhoff, sitting next to his Myers Park coach, said his family moved to Charlotte so he could play football.
“I was looking for a season in the second semester and Charlotte was one of the places that hadn’t played yet and I thought it would be a great move so my family and I, you know, believed in in the dream of playing college football and expanding on what I was doing and, so I moved out to Charlotte,” Lenhoff said.
The Fox News host added that Lenhoff brought other California players with him.
But Myers Park administrators said they had no indication there were any problems until after the football season.
In an email responding to a request for comment for this story, Folk said the players were registered at different addresses and that Poore, the athletic director, was not aware of any eligibility issues prior to January.
“The students in question lived at more than one address in the Myers Park attendance zone. The parents of the students in question provided falsified documents for school enrollment and athletic eligibility,” Folk said.
“Mr. Poore was not aware of eligibility concerns for the identified students until January 2022. Mr. Poore was not aware of the falsified documents from the identified students’ parents until January 2022.”
Folk did not respond to a follow-up email from a reporter listing the six students registered as living at the Sedley Road address.
In an interview with WBTV, N.C. High School Athletic Association Commissioner Que Tucker said it was clear to her based on the evidence she was given that administrators should have seen evidence of problems sooner.
“Well, what was concerning is that there were student-athletes who had come from other states, there were some student-athletes who had enrolled last spring as well as in August and so those were concerning,” Tucker said.
“And so as I listened to the information I was concerned that perhaps there maybe were some red flags that were missed.”
WBTV asked Tucker whether six students registered to one address would be a red flag?
“Absolutely,” Tucker said. “Any time you have students—and if they’re not siblings—you know, that’s concerning. And you, as athletic directors, athletic administrators, you want to pay attention to those.”
The team’s record from the 2021 season—which included a run to the playoffs—was vacated and the school had to pay back $6,700 earned from playoff games and a $250 fine.
While the student-athletes have had to endure the consequences of having their season wiped away, there is no indication that any CMS employee will face punishment in this matter.
Tucker said the NCHSAA does not handle personnel matters involving school district officials and that, in this case, it would be up to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to take action.
“Those are questions that ultimately CMS will have to address because we don’t get involved in personnel issues to that extent when we discover or we determine that someone has used ineligible players,” Tucker said. “The adults who maybe didn’t see it or didn’t detect it, especially if the information was there.”
A spokeswoman for CMS said the district would not release information regarding employee discipline.
“We take the NCHSAA eligibility requirements very seriously and the student-athlete violations at MPHS have been handled according to the recent NCHSAA ruling,” the first CMS spokeswoman said in a statement.
Lucas Lenhoff’s dad, Steven, wouldn’t answer questions on camera but said in a phone call that he and his family thought they were following all the rules necessary for their son and the other players from California to play at Myers Park.
“Everybody know who we were,” he said. “It was never a secret and, you know, the school never talked to us.”
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