Butler, Independence players penalized

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools officials announced this evening that they have penalized two athletes from Butler High and one from Independence for falsifying their addresses during the 2007-08 school year.

CMS released a statement saying a Butler football player, a Butler basketball player and an Independence football player must all sit out one game for every game they illegally participated in, should they elect to play in the upcoming school term.

One of the Butler students has already graduated, the statement says. The other students, who were not at their correct home schools, will be sent to their correct schools for the 2008-09 school year.

Butler and Independence will not forfeit any games, CMS officials said. N.C. High School Athletic Association rules require sanctions against schools only if the school errs in determining a student's athletic eligibility. When parents or legal guardians supply incorrect information to school officials, the student is penalized.

The action marked the latest chapter in CMS' ongoing battle to root out cheating in its high school athletics programs. Since November, the school system has investigated more than 200 student-athletes and declared 20 ineligible. Four coaches have resigned or been removed, and four high schools have forfeited football seasons.

Earlier Wednesday, Superintendent Peter Gorman said he will announce reforms to the eligibility system on Friday. The changes will be based on recommendations from a 24-member citizens' panel he convened after a record number of CMS student-athletes were declared ineligible during the fall and winter sports seasons. During a press conference Wednesday, Gorman did not specify what his changes will be.

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