Phares said the school system did not find out until recently the student needed an exemption, and said it likely would have been too late anyway. He said the SSAC's board of directors requires any requests for residency exemptions to be submitted, in writing, in mid-August. The student did not enroll at the school until Aug. 20.
Ray said board members likely could have worked something out with the school system, however. He said Elkins High School Principal David Fincham notified the SSAC the student wants to play basketball at Elkins High School once football season is over, so the board of directors will discuss a residency waiver at its November meeting.
Ray said there is no appeal process left for the student. Phares said that's not fair.
"There is no due process for this young man," Phares said. "He missed the window of time to appeal. We couldn't have got the paperwork in if we had thought he had to do so."
Because Elkins High is a member school of SSAC, the superintendent said the school could not sue the organization.
"It'd be like suing yourself," he said.
The student athlete has obtained a lawyer, however, and is trying to get a preliminary injunction granted by the Randolph County Circuit Court. Phares said the court could have a decision by today.
In 2010, Circuit Court judge Carrie Webster granted South Charleston players an injunction that allowed them to play in the Class AAA playoff semifinals after being suspended by the SSAC for their roles in a brawl that prematurely ended the Black Eagles' quarterfinal win over Hurricane. After South Charleston beat Brooke in the semifinals, the SSAC and the Brooke County Board of Education appealed Webster's ruling to the state supreme court, causing a one-week delay of the Class AAA state championship game.
The Supreme Court ruled that Webster did not have the authority to circumvent the SSAC ruling because the SSAC was an at-will organization. The ruling gave Brooke a spot in the title game.
"This Court has long recognized that the Legislature intended the WVSSAC to promulgate rules to carry out its control, supervision, and regulation of interscholastic events and that court should not interfere with the internal affairs of school activities commissions," the ruling from Dec. 7, 2010, read.
Ray said the SSAC was notified of the student's ineligibility after receiving a written complaint from a parent of an athlete at another school. He then contacted Elkins High, who reviewed football players' records and identified the ineligible student.
On Tuesday, the SSAC notified administrators at Elkins High School the school must forfeit its wins.
Ray said he did not want to identify the complainant to avoid further tension in the area.
Elkins was 7-2 this season, and was ranked eighth in the SSAC's Class AAA playoff ratings. The top 16 teams in each class qualify for the playoffs, which are scheduled to begin Nov. 9. The top eight teams earn the right to host their first-round playoff game.
The team has one game left this season, a Nov. 2 bout with Lewis County High School.
Calls to Fincham and the student athlete's lawyer, Lori Gray, were not immediately returned Thursday.
Preps Editor Derek Taylor also contributed to this report.