ALTO, Texas (KETK) – The Alto ISD high school football team was suspended from postseason for two years, a UIL committee decided during a meeting on Tuesday.

They will also not be able to play for honors or awards during this time. This comes after the school district misreported student enrollment numbers, said UIL officials. The enrollment numbers help decide what district and division Alto ISD will compete in. The football team is in 2A Division II, but they should be in 2A Division I, according to the UIL committee.

Three students showed up to school on Oct. 19, 2021 and they were not officially enrolled until Nov. 1, 2021 said authorities.

Officials held a hearing and had an attorney conduct an investigation to make sure there was not intent to misreport enrollment numbers.

Alto ISD Superintendent Kelly West said they had loose and informal policies regarding enrollment and they are going make changes so it doesn’t happen again. The misreporting of enrollment numbers was also due to an administration error, said officials.

There was a “toxic” situation at the high school because the counselor and principal did not have a good working relationship, said West.

A coordinator was also the person who submitted the enrollment numbers to administrators.

Alto ISD officials said one of the students, who was not enrolled properly, was an unaccompanied minor. All three students had unique situations, which might have created challenges for administrators, said the school district.

During the meeting, West asked to move districts this year so the junior and senior students could play as long as they could. UIL committee members that this would change a lot of schedules.

By 2023, Alto ISD can take action to move into a different district. They would need unanimous votes from the district they are leaving and the district they are hoping to join, said UIL officials.

In addition to not being to play in the postseason or for honors, Alto ISD will be under a probation period, so UIL officials will be monitoring them closely.

“If something egregious happens, the consequences will be severe,” said Mike Motheral, UIL State Executive Committee Chair.

The school district will also have to submit a report by the end of the year on how they are fixing their processes.

UIL officials said they were not trying to intentionally go after the superintendent.

“We’re trying to do what’s right for every school that is playing,” said Charles Breithaupt, executive director of the UIL.

Superintendent Kelly West shared the following statement on Facebook:

“This afternoon, I went before the State Executive Committee of UIL as the leader of Alto ISD to provide testimony regarding discovery of inaccurate enrollment reporting submitted for purposes of the 2022-2024 reclassification and realignment process. I shared with the Committee that AISD did, in fact, make an error in reporting which impacted our alignment for football. Specifically, we failed to report three (3) students as enrolled on the October snapshot date, which if properly reported, would have bumped AISD to Division 1 of Conference 2A, rather than Division 2. As superintendent, I owned the mistake, including the fact that I did not ensure procedures were in place to confirm that our student accounting was accurate. There was no ill intent to misreport numbers, nor desire to cheat the system to gain a competitive advantage. The Committee, likewise, made no finding that the error was intentional.

Had the mistake been discovered prior to finalizing the alignment process, realignment would have been a plausible remedy. Given the unfortunate timing of the discovery, however, only weeks before the football season is to begin, UIL is unable to realign Alto High School consistent with accurate enrollment numbers. The Committee determined that, out of fairness to all high schools competing within Conference 2A, Alto High School should remain in Division 2, District 11 but would be ineligible for District honors (playoffs) for 2 years. The Committee identified additional accountability measures designed to remediate our deficiencies and tighten internal procedures, with which we will diligently comply.

I am crushed by the Committee’s decision and the impact that it will have on our football players – specifically our juniors and seniors. I went before the Committee asking that the students not be disciplined for my error. I conceded full responsibility and I fought for them, hoping to avoid these punitive measures, as the students had no control over the mistakes made. I will continue communication with UIL and will explore every avenue available to seek proper realignment with the opportunity to play for District honors, if at all possible, in future years.

While I am heartbroken today, I have faith that our new Athletic Director and talented team of coaches and educators will inspire our students to play for the love of the game and their team – not trophies. I also have faith in the integrity and resilience of our students and their ability to overcome this disappointment.”

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