The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

Turnage wins appeal, regains athletic eligibility

Antwon Turnage plays in the preseason Columbia Jamboree at Battle High School. Photo by Morgan Berk.
Antwon Turnage plays in the preseason Columbia Jamboree at Battle High School. Photo by Morgan Berk

Missouri State High School Activities Association granted junior Antwon Turnage, wide receiver for the Bruin football team, full eligibility to participate in Rock Bridge High School athletics today.

Because of questions and confusion regarding his residence and enrollment last summer, RBHS Athletic Director David Egan said Hickman High School called Turnage’s eligibility into question last week. According to MSHSAA bylaws, any student who transfers with an athletic motive is ineligible to compete for 365 days.

“We submitted the transfer form at the beginning of the season,” Egan said. “As the sending school, Hickman has the chance to review that and either agree with it or contest it. At that time [Hickman] agreed to it. [Turnage] was declared eligible. That’s why he played in the first five games of the season. Last Monday [Hickman] went back and revised [their decision] to indicate athletic reasons so at that point he became ineligible pending our appeal.”

During the appeal this morning, Egan said representatives from both schools were in attendance to present their sides of the issue. Egan and principal Dr. Jennifer Mast represented RBHS, while Hickman athletic director Doug Mertz and HHS principal Dr. Tracey Conrad were present for HHS. Turnage, his mother and Columbia Public Schools’ Athletic Director Bruce Whitesides were also at the appeal.

“I don’t think anybody wanted to be there,” Egan said. “It’s sort of this commitment … of really making sure we do due diligence, because we don’t want to put ourselves in this position again. It’s uncomfortable. I have a lot of respect for our colleagues over at Hickman. I think they’re a great school, and I think they were doing what they thought was right based on the Missouri State High School Activities Association rules, and I don’t fault them for that. You just don’t want to be in that situation. We have to make sure these types of confusing things don’t happen in the future.”

Mertz declined to comment on the subject.

Egan said Turnage has continued to practice with the team since he was deemed ineligible last week, but can now participate in games as well. Turnage did not play in the ninth-ranked Bruins’ (4-2) 59-21 loss to Helias Saturday.

Despite all the confusion surrounding the initial eligibility questions, appeal and subsequent re-granting of eligibility, Egan is glad Turnage can resume playing for the Bruins not just in practice but in the remainder of their games this season.

“I’m happy for Antwon,” Egan said.  “I’m a big believer in the power of high school athletics. I really believe having the opportunity to be a part of a team, to be able to be in an environment where you’re sort of developing these life skills – I believe sports has the power to really prepare people to be successful in life. For Antwon to continue to have that opportunity to … compete in those games, I was just really happy for him.”

By Brett Stover

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Bearing News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *