Archbishop Murphy players hope for a victory off the field

EVERETT — Their fight on the field is over, but they believe there’s still work to do.

Having accepted that their 2007 season is wiped out, seniors on the Archbishop Murphy High School football team hope to make a difference by preventing other teams from enduring what they’ve recently gone through.

Murphy’s 11 seniors will meet at 8 a.m. today with Mike Colbrese, executive director of the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, at WIAA headquarters in Renton. The players plan to share their frustrations in a private meeting with Colbrese and offer suggestions for changing the rule that abruptly ended their season, Murphy co-captain Ryan Bourke said Monday.

School officials on Thursday discovered a Murphy football player had competed nearly the entire season with an expired medical exam, a violation of state athletic rules. High school officials reported the error and, after several appeals, the school was required Friday to forfeit all eight games the ineligible player participated in, including its Nov. 3 district playoff victory over Bellingham.

The violation occurred during a tumultuous time. Wildcat head coach Terry Ennis died of cancer Sept. 12, four days after the player’s medical exam expired. Also, the school’s athletic office had moved to a new location earlier that month.

The Wildcats, who were 10-0 before the forfeits, have no delusions of overturning the WIAA ruling, Bourke said. But “at this point,” he said, “we want to make a difference in the rules.”

Nothing will revive the team’s season, Archbishop Murphy football coach Rick Stubrud said. Still, “the kids want an explanation for themselves. They just want to hear from the horse’s mouth what was the basis for the decision,” Stubrud said.

The players, who had been scheduled to play Longview’s Mark Morris High School on Saturday in a first-round Class 2A state playoff game, hope to convince Colbrese and the WIAA to make room for exceptions to the physical-exam rule.

“We don’t want this to happen again to another team,” Bourke said. “We understand that they’re following the rules, but this is something that needs to be fixed. We want to build some compassion into it.”

The Archbishop Murphy seniors who plan to attend the meeting with Colbrese are Bourke, Tyler Allen, Jake Bos, Sean Connelly, Zeke Evers, Fred Hines, Patrick Kelly, Sky Muller, Nic Peterson, Jared Smith and Henry Woods. The meeting came together early Monday afternoon when Connelly called Colbrese and requested a meeting.

It’s rare to get such a request from student-athletes, Colbrese said, but he quickly agreed to meet.

Asked about physical-exam requirements and any potential exceptions, Colbrese said: “The rules are very clear that if a player participates without a (valid physical) then they’re ineligible. It’s clear that it’s a forfeit.”

Colbrese said that although the WIAA hasn’t handled an appeal with these exact circumstances, schools do periodically appeal similar violations and argue that student-athletes should not be punished for an error in oversight.

“But member schools have said very clearly that they don’t want that to be an excuse,” said Colbrese, referring to past rulings by the WIAA executive board, which considers appeals that move beyond the league and district level.

The executive board consists of 13 athletic administrators from WIAA member schools or school districts.

The physical-exam rule shields schools from medical liability and protects student-athletes from unknowingly competing with serious medical problems, such as a life-threatening heart condition, Colbrese said.

Contact Herald Writer Mike Cane at mcane@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Sports

Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald talks with the media after practice at Under Armour Performance Center. The Seattle Seahawks hired Macdonald on January 31, 2024. (Kevin Richardson / Tribune News Service)
Seattle Seahawks roster breakdown: One thought on Geno Smith and every position group

The next phase of Mike Macdonald’s debut season as head coach of… Continue reading

Jurrangelo Cijntje pitches 2022 MLB Draft Combine held at Petco Park on Wednesday, June 15, 2022 in San Diego, CA. Cijntje, from Mississippi State, was the Mariners’ first pick in the 2024 MLB Draft. (Nelvin C. Cepeda / The San Diego Union-Tribune)
Mariners lean on college players, pitchers with ‘power arms’ as MLB draft concludes

Seattle’s 20 selections include 19 college players and one high schooler.

Jurrangelo Cijntje pitches at the 2022 MLB Draft Combine held at Petco Park on Wednesday, June 15, 2022 in San Diego, CA. Cijntje, from Mississippi State, was the Mariners’ first pick in the 2024 MLB Draft. (Nelvin C. Cepeda / The San Diego Union-Tribune)
Mariners go college route on second day of draft, take 2-way player Grant Knipp

Seattle chose youth and selected eight college players.

Tyler Cronk performs in the slam dunk competition during the Everett 3on3 tournament in downtown Everett, Washington on Sunday, July 14, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Recap, videos and photos: 2024 Everett 3on3 was another slam dunk

Everett alumni place second; skills contests, food trucks and vendors were also in full swing this past weekend to celebrate the basketball tournament’s third edition.

View of T-Mobile Park from the Press Club. Ben Ray / The Reporter
T-Mobile Park at 25: Mariners fans share favorite ballpark memories

The venue turned a quarter of a century on Monday

Kamiak High School’s Victor Sanchez Hernandez Jr. puts on a University of Washington football helmet. Sanchez Hernandez, a three-star defensive end who’s heading into his senior season, committed to the Huskies. (Photo courtesy of Victory Sanchez Hernandez Jr.)
High school football recruiting: Here’s how Washington’s 2025, 2026 classes are shaping up

TNT sports reporter Jon Manley spoke with national recruiting editor Brandon Huffman.

Louisville guard Hailey Van Lith found little room between South Carolinas Destiny Littleton (11) and Laeticia Amihere. (Carlos Gonzalez / Star Tribune)
These Olympians in the 2024 Paris Games have ties to Washington state

Nineteen athletes competing in France are from The Evergreen State.

Once an MLB bust, Mill Creek’s Travis Snider now hopes to change toxic culture

When Snider made it to the big leagues in 2008 at just 20 he was one of the game’s top prospects, touted as the Blue Jays’ next great hitter.

From left to right: Arlington’s Kierra Reese and Stanwood’s Ellalee Wortham, Ava DePew and Presley Harris. The foursome, called “Awesome Mix 12,” won the High School Elite division in 2023 and returned to Spokane Hoopfest this year to claim the Women’s Competitive division title. (Photo courtesy Sarah Reese)
Winter Wesco rivals, summer hoopfest champions

Arlington’s Kierra Reese and Stanwood’s Ava DePew, Presley Harris and Ellalee Wortham teamed up to win back-to-back 3-on-3 titles.

UW Husky rowing will be well-represented in Paris at 2024 Olympics

The U.S. eight competes in heat racing on July 29 with finals on Aug. 3.

Golden Knights center Chandler Stephenson (20) skates with the puck during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Flames at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024, in Las Vegas. (Ellen Schmidt / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Chandler Stephenson’s deal about broader Kraken goals rather than dollar value

The former Golden Knights centerman signed a seven-year deal for $6.25 million with Seattle last week.

Seattle Mariners catcher Cal Raleigh (29) celebrates his two-run home run with a trident as he high fives teammates during the first inning against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in Arlington, Texas. (Elías Valverde II / Tribune News Service)
Statistics show just how terrible Mariners’ offense has been | Analysis

Seattle leads the AL West, but situational hitting has been a setback.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.