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Posted on Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 5:13 p.m.

MHSAA rules River Rouge transfer Jamal Poplar ineligible for first half of season, awards Willow Run forfeit victory

By Kyle Austin


Jamal Poplar, right, defends in a game against Dexter last season for Willow Run. file photo

The Willow Run boys basketball team has been awarded a win via forfeit, after the MHSAA determined that River Rouge used an ineligible player during the Dec. 14 game between the two schools.

According to the minutes of the January MHSAA Executive Committee meeting, the association was provided “erroneous information” in the process of verifying the eligibility Jamal Poplar, who transferred from Willow Run to River Rouge during the offseason.

Poplar, a junior forward, made his season debut in that game, and helped River Rouge to an 81-27 road win.

Willow Run athletic director Matt Seidl questioned Poplar’s eligibility following the game, saying that he should be subject to the transfer rule, which states that students who change schools must sit out until Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

River Rouge athletic director Joe Emery said that Poplar was eligible under an exception to the rule, because he moved with his mother into the River Rouge school district. The MHSAA gave River Rouge written word of that fact before the game.

But according to the MHSAA, after the Dec. 14 game “it was learned that the student previously lived with grandparents and did not actually move with his mother,” thus making him subject to the transfer rule.

Poplar didn’t play from that game until after Martin Luther King Day.

The forfeit win gives Willow Run a 5-7 record on the season.

Kyle Austin covers sports for He can be reached at or 734-623-2535. Follow him on Twitter @KAustin_AA.



Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 3:39 p.m.

I would like to say that Mr. Seidl did not question his eligibility after the game. He questioned the eligibility BEFORE the game. He expressed his concerns to the appropriate people at River Rouge. The issues isn't about who would have and should have won the game, but about following the rules. Willow Run had several players that were forced to sit out due to eligibility issues based on the transfer rules. We have these transfer rules in high school sports for a reason.

Kyle Austin

Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 4:46 p.m.

The eligibility was questioned both before and after the game, to River Rouge before the game, and to the MHSAA following the game.


Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 4:36 a.m.

81-27? Must feel good to win on a technicality, as I don't think Lew Alcindor would have made up that point differential.