PONTIAC, Mich. — An undefeated Pontiac youth football team won’t get to finish their season after they are disqualified because the league says one of their players is one day too old.
Team Holds Protest: CLICK HERE to watch video coverage @ clickondetroit.com
The Pontiac Panthers play in the Northern Youth Football League, National Division, and were about to play their first playoff game Sunday when they were told player Jeremy Cosme didn’t meet age requirements.
Cosme turned 10 on Sept. 1, the cut off deadline for the league’s age requirements. Players are supposed to be 7 to 9 years old.
“They said we was cheating,” Cosme said.
Team organizer Jennifer Washington said Cosme should be allowed to play because the season started in August, before he was 10. And, Washington said, the issue was already discussed with league officials in the first few weeks of the season and it was determined that he would still be allowed to play.
“He’s played the whole season. They’ve looked at our books every single game,” Washington said.
The team of more than 30 players and cheerleaders made it to the playoffs with a perfect record.
About 100 parents and players protested the forfeiture decision in Auburn Hills Sunday.
“Our kids work hard. They didn’t get here by slacking off,” one parent said. “They come to practice, they do their schoolwork, they work hard … and our kids are being penalized for them working hard.”
Players said they were disappointed and only wanted to have fun. “It makes me think that they’re really just scared to play us,” one team member said. League officials declined to comment. The league has nine teams.