You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Fri, Nov 4, 2011 : 6:41 p.m.

Ypsilanti boys soccer coach resigns over district title forfeit

By Pete Cunningham

Ypsilanti High School boys soccer coach Terry Collins has resigned from his position following the team’s forfeit of its first district title.

After winning the program’s first district championship on Oct. 22, it was discovered the Phoenix used a player that was above the MHSAA’s maximum allowable age throughout the season and during tournament play.

The error was discovered by administrators while the team was on a bus ride to its regional contest with St. Clair Shores Lake Shore the following Tuesday. The bus was forced to turn around and the game was never played.

“From my point of view, I have always stressed to my players that you suffer the consequences of your mistakes,” Collins said. “In the end, this was my fault.”

Collins said he turned in his letter of resignation on Tuesday after athletic director Scott Johnson told him that that was the course of action the administration preferred. District spokesperson Emma Jackson confirmed that Collins’ letter of resignation has been accepted by the district.

“The coach expressed remorse that something like this has happened,” Jackson said. “I believe the coach recognized the impact of this and offered his resignation.”

Johnson did not return several emails and phone calls requesting comment.

Players were told by Johnson why they couldn’t play in the regional contest after the bus returned to the school.

“I didn't think I had heard him right, but then it sunk in, and I was upset,” said Kevin Wu, a player on the team. “I know that several of us were really angry at how the whole situation played out.”

Wu said he thought Collins’ resignation was appropriate given the circumstances but added, “Other than this, he has been a great coach, and it's unfortunate that this is how his time at Ypsi ended.”

According to Collins, the ineligible player turned 19 in mid-August. MHSAA rules state that a player is not eligible for postseason play if they turn 19 before Sept. 1 of the current school year.

Collins said he first learned of the player’s age during summer training sessions and intended to let the player participate in offseason workouts before letting him know he would not be eligible to play during the season and that he informed Johnson of his intention.

Collins said it slipped his mind and the office did not discover the player’s birth date until the day of the regional contest.

“None of us could really blame the kid who played because all of us knew he was 19 but thought the coach had made a deal, or had it taken care of because the kid played all season,” one player said.

“My error was not talking to the player during the offseason and saying ‘Listen, son, I don’t think you’re going to be eligible,’ I should have told him right then, encouraged him to hang in there, but I didn’t,” Collins said.

Had the ineligible player been discovered prior to district competition, Ypsilanti would have been eligible for postseason play since the regular season has no bearing on the postseason in soccer. The player in question was a reserve on the team who played about 10 minutes per game, according to an Ypsilanti player.

“The issue here is that an ineligible student athlete participated in a postseason game,” said MHSAA communications director John Johnson, recalling an incident where a hockey team had to forfeit its regular season games due to a similar situation, but made a deep postseason run. “They put it behind them and went into the tournament winless.

“It’s not the first time it's happened, it’s not the last time it will ever happen. It's usually caught before this, but, hey it happens,” Johnson said.

It happened to St. Clair Shores Lake Shore football team in 2008 during a playoff run.

“We got burned here three or four years ago before I took this job. Had a football player slip through the cracks somehow,” said Lake Shore athletic director John Hartley. “I’m sure they feel horrible for a number of reasons.”

Collins said he didn’t want to resign, but that he wouldn’t “fight it,” if that was what was preferred by the administration. He announced that he would be resigning to his team on its Facebook page. He called a team meeting, but was later told by Johnson to cancel the meeting. Collins has yet to speak with his team since the incident and was actually out of town during the entire fiasco, attending the funeral of his father.

Collins said he’s proud of his work in his two years with the program, and upset that it is ending in such a negative fashion.

“When I got there two years ago, the reputation of the program was that there were numerous red cards per game, games called before the end of the game, they had fights. They were a joke,” Collins said.

He said when former athletic director Chuck Fuller hired him, one of the goals they laid out was to legitimize the program. He feels he exceeded that goal, but recognized the negative impact the incident has on the outside perception of the team and the school.

“The really sad part about all of this is this ineligible player becomes the story and not the fact that these kids grew up and did something that had never happened before and that’s my biggest disappointment and that’s what I need to apologize to them for,” Collins said. “Give the kids as much credit for what they did in the tournament by themselves.”

Pete Cunningham covers sports for He can be reached at or by phone at 734-623-2561. Follow him on Twitter @petcunningham.



Sun, Nov 13, 2011 : 2:26 p.m.

Being a current student at Ypsilanti High School I know a lot about the team and the game and the coach. Yes, it's the coaches fault. The went through the background check and everything. He was not allowed to play and Terry knew that. Terry did a lot of things to try to bend the rules throughout the season that I'm sure many people did not know about. So before you, Sandy Castle, go around slandering a school THAT YOU ARE NO LONGER APART OF IN ANYWAY you should get your facts straight. You have not worked with any of the new admins in the building and do not know what work they put in to try and make the school a little bit better than what it was. And if you REALLY are having troubles sleeping at night because of how horrible the school is you should probably go to a board meeting and do something about it.


Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 5:13 a.m.

Yes, this is very sad. How unfortunate that they had to lose the title and the coach decided to resign. But like the MHSAA director said, it happens and life will go on. This incident, however, is not reason to go bashing the entire Ypsilanti school system. Such negative generalizations, Sandy Castle, are unnecessary, inaccurate, and simply destructive. I am confused as to why you still spend your time making damaging assertions about a school system that you and your family have consciously chosen to no longer be apart of. If you have nothing constructive to contribute, I think the good people involved in YPSD would appreciate you not make those comments. We all know Ypsilanti schools are not near perfect, but what do you gain by constantly pointing out exaggerated shortfalls? You are making comments that are hurtful to those caring for YPSD as well as enforcing negative perceptions to outside readers.

Sandy Castle

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 1:56 p.m.

My husband coached volleyball and girls' soccer AT Ypsilanti High. Let me tell you EXACTLY how it works at Ypsilanti. The kids tryout and they are required to turn have sports physical forms. A team of parents handle registration and all paperwork is noted and then given to the athletic office. Once the team is chosen after tryouts then the coach gives a roster to the athletic office and THEY check every kid for eligibility. This includes checking grades from the prior semester AND age requirements.

Sandy Castle

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 1:29 p.m.

The saddest part of this is that the kids worked hard and did a great job this season. They deserved their spot, but because of Ypsilanti Public Schools' incompetence it was taken from them. Never think that the incompetence on the part of Ypsilanti administration doesn't affect the kids. Crap rolls downhill and the kids are the ones who feel the effects of it, whether it's failure to do their job in the athletic department or the curriculum department. We can be VERY PROUD of the Ypsilanti Boy's Soccer team. They may not get to keep that trophy, but they earned it!

average joe

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 1:28 p.m.

While there needs to be some sort of penalty/punishment, I guess I don't understand why this would result in the coach resigning. Is it in the MHSAA rules that the coach must go? The ineligible athlete wasn't the 'star' player, he was a reserve, so it wasn't like the coach was using him for an unfair advantage. The only thing that bothers me is that the coach knowingly used the player during preseason workouts without telling the student he couldn't play.

Sandy Castle

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 1:44 p.m.

The coach being forced to resign is YPSD trying to make it look like this was not something they did. It is NOT MHSAA requirement.

Sandy Castle

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 1:25 p.m.

Having had a number of years experience with coaches (volleyball and soccer), more coaches than not don't have a clue what the rules are, there are so many of them through MHSAA. The buck stops with the athletic office. THE AHTLETIC DEPARTMENT is responsible for making sure the district is complying with MHSAA rules and they should have known about this from the start. But this is Ypsilanti and having had kids in the district for many years before pulling them out I can tell you they are this lackadaisacal with everything, if you think their incompetence starts and ends with just sports issues, think again. They are equally incompetent in everything, including the curriculum being taught. Well, that's pretty obvious, isn't it, due to their current status with the state. This is the third athletic director they have had in the last 3 years. Chuck Fuller, who was a wonderful AD, very well respected and knowledgeable, left. He was replaced by someone who they fired almost immediately due to issues with money being missing (talk to any of the coaches and they can tell you this one, many of them not being paid and finding that the checks were missing. Although we never read about any of THAT in the paper), and then they hired this Johnson guy. Doesn't seem like he knows what he's doing. It seems that when Ypsilanti is able to hire good, competent people, those people end up leaving fairly quickly.

An Ypsilanti High Student

Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 5:10 a.m.

Mrs. Castle, I am currently a student of Ypsilanti High School. I treat Ypsilanti's community as my family. I often browse to find news on local happenings. I hadn't created an account until just recently. I created one because I am sick and tired of scrolling to the comments section under ANY Ypsilanti High related article, and seeing your posts SLANDERING my high school's name. Labeling an entire school as incompetent is a statement of incompetence in itself. Have you been employed by the high school? Have you worked in the building? If you're answering no to either of those questions, then you have NO right to criticize my school,and my family. How would you feel if your family was verbally attacked and labeled? In the future, please find proper evidence before making knee-jerk statements and attacking MY family. Sincerely, An Ypsilanti High Student


Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 5:03 a.m.

Hello, I am a recent graduate of Ypsilanti High School. Your statements are very hurtful, and not needed. This is a matter of Athetics, so why bring in other matters (such as curriculum). You said in a later comment " Crap rolls downhill and the kids are the ones who feel the effects of it". How do you think your negative comments are effecting the many kids at Ypsi that are succeeding? Your comments do nothing but hurt them. With all do respect, if your kids are no longer in Ypsilanti School's, why must you continue to bash Ypsi? Many parents and their children have stayed in Ypsi, partly because they want to see it improve and grow, and partly because they actually like it there. Your negative comments do nothing to help the situation. Also, the blame can not be put all on the Athletic Departments shoulders. Of course the ineligible player should have been noticed. But it is not only the responsibility of the Athletic Department to do so. The coach admits in the article he knew the age and ineligibility of the player, but did not stop him from playing. That was a mistake on his part, and the team suffered the consequences. I am proud to be an alumni of Ypsi, but the stinging comments from ignorant people will always hurt. I'm proud of the Ypsi Soccer team for accomplishing something so great with the help of their coach, athletic department, and school. GO BRAVES!

Sandy Castle

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 5:47 p.m.

Only if they're not true and there are too many instances to go over all of them here, but this article highlights major incompetence in one of the areas.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 5:05 p.m.

These insinuations of incompetence and theft seem hurtful at best and libelous at worst.

Sandy Castle

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 1:41 p.m.

The article says "he thought he might not be eligible". I've heard only good things about Terry Collins and I would bet that any coach in that situation would have gone to the "expert", the athletic director, and asked about it. He's being made the fall guy here, but I can guarantee it was somebody elses fault at YPSD.

average joe

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 1:36 p.m.

"Collins said he first learned of the player's age during summer training sessions ....." He might have "learned of" it from the AD's office...... But I'm not sayin' this Johnson guy is competent...

Terry Star21

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 3:11 a.m.

Yes, it is firstly the coaches responsibility - yet it is also the Athletic Departments number one priority. Why did it take the athletic office nine weeks. I would think 'the course of action' then by the school board would be for more resignations - coming from the Athletic Department.