Graduation conflict prompts University Prep forfeit

David Goricki
The Detroit News

Detroit University Prep’s baseball team made history last weekend, defeating Cesar Chavez 6-5 in 10 innings to earn its first district championship.

And, now University Prep (13-7) will forfeit its Division 2 regional semifinal game against Center Line because the MHSAA won’t move its 10 a.m. start Saturday at Wayne State.

So, what’s the big deal? Well, several players will be attending University Prep’s graduation, which will be held at 11 a.m.

“It’s terrible because it deprives the kids from creating memories win or lose,” University Prep Athletic Director Eric Davie said. “We’ve talked to Mark Uyl, the MHSAA associate athletic director, about moving the game to Friday and he said it would be an unfair advantage because both regional games have to be played on the same day.

“We then talked about switching times, having Divine Child-South Lake play at 11 a.m. and have our game at 1:30 and they wouldn’t allow that either. I mean, it’s at Wayne State University and they have lights … It shouldn’t be a problem. It’s just a shame.”

University Prep first-year head coach Dante Vogel feels heartbroken for his players.

“The schools were on board with making moves, including Friday games, but the MHSAA wouldn’t budge, saying it has to be played at 10,” Vogel said. “I mean, we’ve made school history and now we’re falling flat on our faces, forfeiting and I’ve never forfeited at anything before. If it was up to me, we’d play, but it’s up to the kids and they want to graduate and it is one of the biggest accomplishments of their lives, some of their parents didn’t graduate.

“Hey, I’m not from around here. I’m from Wisconsin. This is the first time I’ve coached varsity baseball. I’ve been told the MHSAA is very stubborn. It’s not the first time, people have been upset by their decisions before, but wow.”

Said Davie: “We gave the kids the right to decide if they wanted to play or graduate. They said they wanted to go to graduation so we submitted the letter to the MHSAA saying we were forfeiting the game so our kids could attend the ceremony, one they deserved to be at.”