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NMAA won’t discipline any Volcano Vista football players

None of the football players who were at the center of a controversy at Volcano Vista surrounding questions of eligibility will miss any games in 2014, the Journal has learned.

The New Mexico Activities Association has completed its investigation of the players. “As far as we’re concerned, the case is closed,” executive director Sally Marquez said.

Nine players were investigated by the NMAA over the past few months. It sought to determine whether or not they were eligible to play this fall.

The Journal had previously reported that several players were under suspicion of falsifying addresses to attend Volcano Vista and were facing a possible season-long suspension from football.

But at a recent appeals hearing, the NMAA cleared all the players, who are all believed to be practicing this month. The regular season begins in two weeks.

Marquez said new information was presented at the appeals hearing “with regards to living arrangements and unique circumstances that were not disclosed previously,” she said, without elaborating.

Marquez would not comment on whether any of the players received a lesser punishment. Moreover, it is not known if all nine athletes are Volcano Vista players. It is believed that at least one attends nearby Cibola.

Marquez would not comment directly on any individual case.

“At the time of the investigation,” she said, “all nine were Volcano Vista kids.”

The NMAA first learned of the possible eligibility violations in January. The Journal attempted to obtain public documents/records related to the nine athletes. NMAA counsel declined the request.

The Hawks’ coach, Chad Wallin, served a one-week suspension, from Aug. 4-11 – the first week of official practices – for breaking two NMAA bylaws. One of those two bylaws relates to this eligibility issue and dates back to a late 2011 meeting between Wallin and some players from a Cibola YAFL team who were then in the eighth grade.

During the course of the meeting, he learned that not all the players were slated to attend Volcano Vista, but because the meeting continued, he was found to be in violation of NMAA bylaw 7.3, which relates to the undue influence of a student by a coach.

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