Black Forest Academy has relinquished its boys soccer championship after it was found that two of its players violated the DODDS-Europe substance abuse policy.

As a result, SHAPE has been awarded the 2008 Division II boys title.

BFA defeated SHAPE 3-2 in overtime of the championship game on May 24.

According to Black Forest athletic director and boys soccer coach Chris Greathouse, the team voted to return voluntarily its championship trophy after the school discovered that two of its players had violated the policy.

Neither Greathouse nor DODDS would give further details about the substance abuse.

"…Two athletes who played in the championship game violated the DODDS-Europe substance-abuse policy," Greathouse wrote in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes on Monday. "This was two weeks prior to the championship and did not come to light until the day after the title game."

Once this policy violation was discovered "our school took the appropriate discipline measures," Greathouse wrote. "Once that was completed, we notified DODDS-E of the situation."

After considering the whole situation, "the team decided that it would be best to return the title, [championship] plaque, and game ball," he wrote. "We determined that we did not want to win that way."

The DODDS-Europe policy, posted on the DODDS Web site and dated March 17, 2004, regards the use of controlled substances such as alcohol and illegal drugs by students participating in the system’s athletic programs.

Students who violate the policy during the school day, on buses or while at a program under the school’s jurisdiction, are removed from the team for the rest of the season on the first offense. On the second offense, they are removed from athletic participation the rest of the school year.

If the first offense of the policy is outside school hours or a school function, a member is suspended from all competition for the next seven calendar days, and penalties vary depending on when the next athletic contest is scheduled. In order to be reinstated to the team, the athlete must undergo counseling.

SHAPE coach Tony Blasio said by telephone on his way to his team’s banquet on Monday evening that he was just about to tell his team of its new status.

"No one up here knows about it," he said.

Located at Kandern, Germany, Black Forest Academy is a private international school primarily for the children of missionaries serving in remote parts of the world. It has been competing in DODDS-Europe sporting events since the 1990s.

"It’s a bummer," Greathouse said by telephone on Monday about his team’s relinquishing the title, "but I want to emphasize how proud I am to coach these young men, who will do what is right, no matter the results.

"It took a lot of courage to return an award that they worked so incredibly hard for."

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