A St. Louis high school has cancelled the rest of their football season and fired every coach on staff after a suspended player wore a different number and participated in a game. Cardinal Ritter College Prep, which was undefeated at 7-0, suspended the rest of their season after junior running back Bill Jackson was found to have played in their season opener, even though he was supposed to be serving a one-game suspension, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The RB was given the suspension after being ejected from last year’s title game, but the team found a way to disguise Jackson, or so they thought.
Instead of his normal No. 4, he wore No. 24 and went under a freshman named “Marvin Burks.” It was Jackson’s tattoos that ended up giving him away. Jackson, as well as head coach Brandon Gregory, both went along with the lie that the junior didn’t play, despite him actually putting up 109 yards on the ground and scoring a 56-yard touchdown in the 32-21 win.
Gregory told the Post-Dispatch that the imaginary freshman Burks, “earned” the start and that “it was his time to play ball.” Jackson also put his acting skills to the test, telling the newspaper that “watching last week, it wasn’t fun at all. It gave me a spark.”
As a result of the incident in the most recent game, Cardinal Ritter school president Tamiko Armstead decided to void the entire season. The school also announced that every person on the coaching staff has been “permanently released.”
Gregory said after the news was made public that “a mistake was made.”
He also said that he did not know Jackson should have been suspended for a game.
“That’s kinda my wrongdoing of not knowing the rules and that he shouldn’t have not sat out the jamboree, he should have sat out week one so that’s what happened” he said.
As for the coach’s defense of Jackson wearing a different jersey, Gregory said “that’s a thing our kids do on the regular basis, you know, they try to change jersey numbers and sometimes don’t let us know.”
That still doesn’t explain Jackson being listed as a freshman with a fake name.