From the Sports Editor: Ravens’ Scott waits, hopes to regain his eligibility

The rough part for Aaron Scott is when St. Thomas More loses.

That’s when the big man feels the frustration of sitting on the bench rather than playing on the court.

“I know I could help my team,” said Scott. “It’s hard for me watching that because I don’t like losing.”

But the situation is what it is.

A third-team All-Stater in boys’ basketball for the Ravens last winter, Scott can’t play this season because this is his fifth year of high school.

St. Thomas More coach Cheston Boyd, though, doesn’t think that’s right.

Understandably, he knows the 6-foot-4, 280-pound Scott would make a big difference for the Ravens, who reached the DIAA state quarterfinals last year for the first time.

But Boyd says it’s more than that. He said the kid has earned the right to play.

The Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association, however, didn’t grant Scott’s request for a waiver that would have made him eligible.

The DIAA does grant a high percentage of waiver requests. In the 2016 calendar year, the organization approved 55 waivers out of the 62 cases it heard.

The basis for Scott’s waiver request was that his father died during his freshman year, when he was a student at Smyrna High. According to Boyd, that accounted for the youngster’s academic struggles, which left him athletically ineligible.

As opposed to giving an athlete five years of eligibility, the DIAA considers the waiver restoring a year the student lost because of hardship.

In its handbook, the DIAA defines hardship as “unforeseen events beyond the election, control or creation of the student athlete, his/her family, or school which deprive him or her of all or part of one of his or her opportunities to participate in a particular sports season.”

Boyd said he knows of at least three other cases in Delaware where a student’s waiver was granted due to a death in the family.

Scott isn’t too old — he just turned 18 — and has only competed at the varsity level for one season.

Scott’s family has appealed the waiver decision but hasn’t heard a final verdict yet.

“At St. Thomas More, we told him that he had to prove to us that he’s serious about his grades and that he can get it done academically before we allow him to play,” said Boyd.

“We told him, if he got his grades right then we would fight for him to be able to play his senior year. That’s why I’m so invested in trying to get this kid on the floor — because he did his part. … I’m pretty frustrated about it.”

However it turns out, Boyd believes Scott has a future as a college athlete — just not necessarily in basketball.

Even though St. Thomas More doesn’t have a football team, FBS Division I schools like Maryland, Temple and Syracuse have all shown an interest in Scott because of his combination of size and athleticism.

A lineman, he played football this fall for the Georgetown-based Eastern Shore Bucks, a team made up of other high school kids whose schools don’t have a program.

In basketball, Scott was the Ravens’ leading scorer and rebounder last season. More than anything, though, Boyd said they miss his size under the basket.

“It was really that toughness and that defensive presence that he brought,” said Boyd. “He had trained really hard and became really good at standing straight up. Other (team’s) offensive players would fall off him like a brick wall.

“After one time going in there, they thought twice. He did a great job protecting the rim. We’re kind of missing that.”

In the meantime, Scott does what he can, lifting weights in the balcony of St. Thomas More’s gym while his teammates practice.

Scott sits on the Ravens’ bench during games and tries to encourage the players.

Boyd loves the fact that Scott still gives several of his teammates rides home after practices and games.

“It’s been hard for him to sit back and watch,” said Boyd. “He’s been a great teammate. I give that to him.”

Scott knows he just has to wait for things to play themselves out.

It’s all he can do.

“I tell them, ‘I don’t know yet, we’ll see,’” Scott tells people when they ask him if he’ll play again for St. Thomas More. “I still have high hopes that I’m going to play.”

Football scheduling news

Smyrna has added Franklin High, from Reistertown, Md., to its 2017 football schedule.

The nonconference game will be played at Smyrna on Sept. 15.

The Indians went 11-2 last fall and were ranked 13th in the state. The two-time Division I state-champion Eagles still have one more open date to fill to complete their 10-game schedule.

At Caesar Rodney, the Riders have added Appoquinimink, William Penn and Brandywine to their football slate for next fall.

CR will also face St. Georges again on its four-game nonconference schedule. Overall, the Riders have six home games.

Dover also has some new foes on its 2017 grid schedule.

The Senators will open the season by hosting Archmere on Sept. 8 before playing at St. Georges on Oct. 7. Concord returns to Dover’s schedule for the first time since 2014 while the Senators will play Division II state champion Woodbridge for a second straight year.

Odds & ends

•Caesar Rodney and Dover square off in boys’ and girls’ basketball again on Tuesday at 7:15 p.m. The boys’ game is being played at Dover with the girls’ game at CR.

•Milford’s Duane Fox Jr. has been selected as an umpire for the Junior League baseball World Series this summer. The tournament will be held Aug. 13-20 in Taylor, Mich.

•The Dover YMCA will be holding a 24-hour soccer match on Feb. 18-19 as part of its Annual Campaign fundraiser. Both coed teams will have 27 players (ages 18 and over) with each player taking part in two four-hour games. The games will be seven-a-side with two subs.

The cost is $60 per player. For more information contact John at jgilroy@ymcade.org

•Former Middletown High star Chris Godwin announced last week that he was leaving Penn State a year early to declare for the NFL Draft.

“As a kid from Delaware I could only dream about being in this position,” Godwin posted on Twitter. “This has been one of the hardest decisions of my life.”

Godwin finishes fourth in the school record books in both receiving yards (2,421) and TD catches (18) and seventh in receptions (154). PSU coach James Franklin called Godwin “one of the top receivers in Penn State history.”

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.