Maple Grove Soccer brawl investigation results in disqualification for Prairie Seeds Academy

As a result of its investigation into a post-game brawl Oct. 18, the Minnesota State High School League has disqualified the Brooklyn Park charter school Prairie Seeds Academy from the State Class A Boys’ Soccer Tournament.

According to the league, the school used an ineligible player during the entire season.

In an Oct. 18 Section 5A championship match, Prairie Seeds defeated Totino Grace of Fridley 2-1 at Maple Grove Senior High, a neutral location. But a brawl on the field cut short Prairie Seeds’ victory celebration and was captured on video by Channel 12. Maple Grove Police and the high school league have been investigating.

Capt. Keith Terlinden of the Maple Grove Police said preliminary injury reports indicated one person had a cut lip, but no serious injuries were reported.

During its investigation, the high school league says, it received information suggesting a Prairie Seeds player involved in the altercation was ineligible.

According to the league, records show a player on the team attended a different school last school year and transferred to Prairie Seeds this fall. It says the school never initiated a “student transfer online form,” which means the player was ineligible to play varsity soccer. As a result, the league says Prairie Seeds must forfeit the sectionals game and honors, per League Bylaw 304.

Prairie Seeds had been scheduled to face Duluth’s Marshall School Friday, Oct. 26. Now the Marshall School will advance directly to the semifinals at the Metrodome. Totino Grace will not replace Prairie Seeds, the league says, “because of the uncertainty of which team may have advanced earlier in the section tournament had Prairie Seeds Academy not played.”

On Monday, Oct. 22, members of the high school league’s staff met with coaches and administrators from each of the schools to review the video of the incident and discuss the facts. They determined five players had punched or kicked players or coaches from the opposing team, and five were involved to a “lesser degree.” They also agreed two players in the video were not involved in the fight.

Consequently, the league is declaring five players ineligible for at least four weeks. It says five more will be ineligible for one game, and two will face no penalty.

“The Minnesota State High School League Board of Directors and league staff are extremely disappointed by the action of individuals immediately following, and connected directly to, the Oct. 18, 2012 Section 5A championship soccer game held at Maple Grove High School,” the league’s executive director Dave Stead said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the police investigation continues. Terlinden said it could take weeks and could result in criminal charges.

“If criminal charges are warranted, we will forward that off either to the city attorney or the county attorney,” he said.