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The Red Lion field hockey team must forfeit seven games for playing part of the season with an ineligible player, the district confirmed Tuesday.

The PIAA denied Red Lion's appeal of penalty on Monday, and the mishap will cost the Lions a spot in the District 3 playoffs. Prior to the ruling, the Lions were 8-3-2 in Division I this year.

Red Lion coach Carol Gillmen said the team found out about the ruling Monday, before the Lions game with Dallastown. A meeting was held with parents Monday night to inform them of the decision.

"It definitely weighs heavily on their emotions," Gillmen said. "They're definitely devastated. ... We have 12 seniors on this team and one of our goals we set at the beginning of the year was to make the postseason.

"I've been coaching since 1995, and there has been two seasons I have coached that we didn't make the postseason."

Gillmen could not identify the player, but did say it was one of the Lions' 12 seniors.

According to a press release from the school district, the ineligibility was due to a mistake involved in the scheduling of the player's classes. That resulted in the player having fewer than the four full-credit subjects a student must pass each week in order to meet PIAA specifications.

"A computer scheduling program prepared a schedule that had the correct number of courses and credits overall for the year, but the first semester was shy of the required number," the release said.

The school corrected the scheduling mix-up, according to the release, and reported the situation to the PIAA. That body eventually ruled that the Lions must forfeit any games played during the time the schedule was incorrect.

Red Lion appealed the decision, but that was denied on Monday.

"I'm still like 'How can this happen?'" Gillmen said.

"Typically athletic ineligibility occurs because the student is failing classes," she said. "In this instance, that was not the case at all. The individual is a stellar student.

"There needs to be a better system of checks and balances to ensure this doesn't happen."

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