City leaders and school officials reveled in the pageantry of the District's 43rd Turkey Bowl on Thursday but admitted there are lingering residency issues that must be addressed.
A late decision to bar Woodrow Wilson High School from this year's championship game due to residency fraud of a player overshadowed the game in the days leading up to the city's annual showdown.
"You've got to be able to enforce the rules, and that's what those who made the decision were trying to do," said Mayor Vincent Gray. "It's very unfortunate this happened. We had two incidents in the District this year. We'll hopefully be able to eradicate these kinds of things so they don't happen again."
The city's Office of the State Superintendent of Education announced earlier this year investigations into 276 cases of nonresident students enrolled in DC Public Schools and charter schools.
The Academies at Anacostia High School benefited from the decision to keep Wilson out of the title game but ultimately lost to Dunbar High School.
Anacostia Principal Ian Roberts said his school takes steps to ensure all players are eligible for sports.
"Those in the chancellor's office are working really hard to try to make sure that we sort things out and deal with it at our schools," Roberts said. "As a principal, I try to work with my registrars, and we try to do everything possible to make sure we are following the process."
Gray said there is a bright spot to the controversy: Parents want to send their kids to D.C. schools.
"I find it interesting that those who criticize the schools, it's amazing the number of people trying to get into schools in the District of Columbia," Gray said. "We must be doing something right." - Steve Contorno