Shocking news rippled across the USL on Monday afternoon, as the league posted the following news on their Twitter account:
While no specifics have officially been released, there are unconfirmed reports that as many as three players for Tulsa were ineligible, but the most likely culprit was Tulsa defender Paris Gee, who entered the game in the 74th minute. Sources have said that Gee, who signed with Tulsa four days before the game on Tuesday March 21st, had not had his contract go through the final approval process of the USSF before the game.
USSF rules state that all professional players must have their contracts submitted, reviewed, and approved prior to playing for the team. Gee did not appear the following week for Tulsa in their 1-0 victory the following week against Rio Grande Valley, and is not currently listed on the Roughnecks roster on the USL site.
The statistics for the game will be wiped out, with the exception of the yellow card accumulation and the 17th minute Switchbacks goal scored by Shane Malcolm. Switchbacks goalkeeper Justin Luthy will also have his slate wiped clean, which is good considering the nightmare night he had in the net.
No word on how Tulsa, the USL, or the officiating crew allowed this to happen. To have an unapproved player (let alone the rumored 3) be listed on the gameday roster, without any intervention from the league or officiating crew should be an embarrassment to not only Tulsa, but the USL and PRO. One would believe that on opening weekend, and being newly promoted to the Second Division, that all entities involved would make sure they had all their ducks in row.
It is now clear that they did not.
While Tulsa bore the sole public punishment, I only hope that the USL and the gameday crew also faced reprimand for their lack of oversight.
The forfeit result moves Tulsa to 9th in the Western Conference with three points, and vaults the Switchbacks to 5th, with four points. Tulsa and Colorado Springs meet again this season May 5th at Weidner Field in Colorado Springs, and the regular season finale October 14th at ONEOK Field in Tulsa.