By Ian Perrotta
At the beginning, it looked like a season of glory for the Cosmos football team.
For the first time in five or six years, the team was on a winning streak, claiming victory in three of its first four games.
But then, scandal tackled the team’s hopes.
First, a key starting player was kicked off the team because it was discovered he had already enrolled in the maximum number of semesters allowed by league rules. The first three wins had to be forfeited.
The team started to crumble after that.
And then the bomb dropped: Head Coach Tarif Kumasi was suspended in an ongoing investigation of player eligibility. He may face being fired next week by the School Board.
Now, the Cosmos appear to be on a losing streak after two defeats in the last few weeks. The team’s latest game was a 47-12 wipeout by the undefeated Ecorse Eagles (6-0, 2-0).
The Cosmos are now 0-6 overall and 0-2 in division play.
The season has been downer in one more area. At one point quarterback Omar Thabet was the top-rated passer in the state, but that distinction has been lost to the forfeiture of all statistics accumulated during the ineligible victories.
There has been some discrepancy in the media about the actual statistics of the team. Some outlets have not amended the Cosmos record to reflect the forfeited wins. John Johnson, of the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA), explained that while the MHSAA records reflect the forfeitures, what third parties report is beyond their control.
“The school [was] applied the penalty associated with the playing of an ineligible student-athlete. The games in which the ineligible participated were forfeited,” Johnson said in an email statement.
Furthermore, concerning individual player statistics, Johnson wrote that, “National Federation policy is that the statistics for the victories forfeited are null and void.”
Whether or not further sanctions will be placed against Hamtramck has yet to be determined. The football program is currently involved in a self-initiated and ongoing investigation concerning player eligibility. Initially, just one player was found to be in violation of MHSAA eligibility guidelines, but subsequent examination of player records yielded enough inconsistencies to indefinitely suspend head coach Kumasi, and more players could be affected by the investigation.
Johnson said that the suspension was a “school personal matter” but didn’t rule out MHSAA involvement.
“If the school finds additional violations of MHSAA regulations, we trust it will fulfill its responsibility of membership as the first line of enforcement of the rules to report that information to the MHSAA office and apply the penalties,” he stated.
Tonight (Oct. 9) the Cosmos take on the Lutheran North Mustangs (2-4, 1-1) at home. Assistant coaches Leo Wells and Marvin Rushings have teamed up to fill the vacancy left by Kumasi’s absence. The game is at Keyworth Stadium and starts at 7 p.m. Admission is $1.