SUITLAND, Md. (FOX 5 DC) — Two recent Suitland High School graduates, recruited to play football in West Virginia, are now being told they cannot enroll because they don't have enough credits. The shocking news comes two weeks after they both got their diplomas.
Tekoar Jennette and Terrance Helm Jr. were both recruited to play football this fall at Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, West Virginia, but last week, both players got the shock of their young lives when they were told they were each a half credit short and would have to take a summer course in order to qualify.
Earlier today, FOX 5 met up with Tekoar's mother, LaToya McDowney, and Terrance's father, Terrance Helm Sr., who both pointed fingers at the guidance counselors at Suitland High.
“When you trust the counselors enrolling your kids in these classes — that they know is an athlete — you are hoping that not only are they meeting the state requirements but also the NCAA because a lot of these kids are playing these sports as an outlet to hopefully get some athletic scholarships,” said McDowney.
“As parents, how do we know that this class is not credited by the NCAA but the school knows,” said Helm.
Both Tekoar and Terrance took a half credit math class at Suitland High School that is not recognized by the NCAA. Now, they are a half credit short and must take an online class through the summer in order to qualify for enrollment at Wheeling Jesuit. Because of that, summer plans have changed and their parents have to dig into their pockets to cover the cost of the course.
"My son is in a damp mood right now... very damp mood right now... seriously, where I am getting phone calls saying, 'What's going on? Is Terrance okay ?' and I go onto his Instagram to see he is saying how hard he worked to get here to get set back," said Terrance Helm Sr.
"I've met with the principal, Mr. Miller, and basically his response was 'there is nothing we can do because they already graduated,'" said McDowney.
Prince George's County Public Schools says the counselors are not to blame.
On Wednesday, the school district released the following statement:
“Athletic eligibility determinations are the responsibility of NCAA compliance officers and coaches at the respective colleges/universities. However, Suitland High School staff members have met with the parents of both young men to help them resolve this issue. It is our hope that these scholar-athletes will be able to achieve their dreams.”
FOX 5 also reached out to Wheeling Jesuit for comment. On Thursday, they sent the following statement:
"It is the student-athlete’s responsibility to meet academic eligibility requirements to participate in intercollegiate athletics. Student-athletes should note that admission to Wheeling Jesuit University does not guarantee that they meet NCAA academic eligibility standards. Student-athletes are advised to register with the NCAA Eligibility center to track their eligibility progress and may reach out to the Office of Admissions or the Office of Athletics with any questions."