MEMPHIS, Tenn. (CBS Charlotte) — A high school basketball team has been disqualified for competing for the state championship after one of their players turned out to be a 22-year-old former gang member.
WREG-TV reports that McKenzie Sewell falsified a transcript last fall, while his wife claimed to be his guardian, just so he could play basketball. Now Ridgeway High School, which ranked as high as No. 3 in the state, has now been disqualified for the rest of the season.
“There was a 22-year old who falsified his documents and they got disqualified from everything and a lot of players getting scouted got screwed over,” student Carlos Delgado told WREG.
Sewell was busted after getting into disciplinary trouble at school, according to The Commercial Appeal. The school launched an investigation into Sewell where they found that he faked school documents and that he lived with his wife. When notified, the Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association found that Sewell originally received a GED from the Shreveport Job Corps in Louisiana. He also was reportedly a former gang member in New Orleans.
“It has come to our attention that an ineligible player played in the closing minutes of the Region 8-AAA semi-finals against Whitehaven High School,” Memphis City Schools said in a statement, according to WREG. “Ridgeway High School reported this information to the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA). Ridgeway HS has forfeited that game and has been removed from the tournament playoffs.”
Ridgeway students were shocked at what happened.
“He looked just like a student. He had a Mohawk and everything so he kind of blended in,” student Jecorey Anderson told WREG.
High school parents are upset about the decision to disqualify the team for the rest of the season.
“They worked hard, they’ve done nothing to deserve this, fire those responsible,” Adrian Jones told WREG.
Memphis City Schools will continue to investigate the incident.