MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Martinsburg won’t have to forfeit wins, after all.

WVSSAC executive director Gary Ray said Monday that Bulldogs’ quarterback Malique Watkins has now been ruled eligible.

The senior was initially ruled ineligible by the SSAC last month, according to W.V.C.S.R 127-2-5.3.a, which states: “A student held back one year on sixth, seventh, or eighth grade without failing shall lose the fourth year of eligibility after entering ninth grade.”

A court injunction had allowed Watkins to continue playing, despite being ruled ineligible. The SSAC last Thursday held a hearing with Watkins on the matter, where Ray says new information was revealed.

Christopher C. Davis/Clark’s Artistic Photography

Martinsburg quarterback Malique Watkins is now eligible to play by the WVSSAC – a court injunction had allowed him to play over the last several weeks.

“We have brought some closure to it,” Ray said. “In the hearing last week, information came out that he was actually retained according to county policy – that being the case, he is in fact eligible. He was retained and confirmed by the central office, based upon Berkeley County policy.

“This information had not been available to me earlier until we had the hearing,” Ray continued. “After the hearing, we were able to make the final determination.”

Martinsburg is currently 7-1 on the season, ranked No. 4 in last week’s SSAC ratings.

bubble graphic


bubble graphic


  • Melanie

    Can't believe how long this process took!! I am so happy for this kid who has obviously worked hard to get where he is. Why do people forget about the actual kids who are playing and what it means to them as well as their education? Do you really want to take something like this away from a player and possibly ruin college opportunities? Everyone throughout the entire state should be happy with this decision and support all the kids who play sports!!

    • Joe

      Could not have said it better. He could be hangin' out and getting in trouble like so many others.

    • 1Prouddog2

      Amen Melanie!

  • Stacy

    It's funny how last week everyone was saying Malique should respect whatever decision the WVSSAC made. But now that he's considered eligible those same people can't seem to accept it. Move on and let the kids play ball!

  • steve

    Dumpville did not get its way if i lived there i would run Church out of town he has ---whipping comming in basketball go dogs

  • 1Prouddog2

    Everybody was hatin on us and questioning why our coaches and administration let Malik play being at risk for forfeiture. Unless you are a true dog fan you wouldn't understand. We live and die by the motto: Never leave a soldier behind! 4 peat baby!!!

    • Cabelleer

      Everyone in state knows ur school is infested with cheaters. 4 peat or not ur still filthy CHEATERS!!!!!!!

      • MoeLarryCheese


        Are you always this stupid or are you making a special effort today?

      • Raw Salmon

        The biggest cheater/recruiter in AAA WV High School Football is Midland. They are the Greenbriar East of High School Football with the guys they bring in from other schools.

        • fact

          Midland does recruit they got a all state running back from pt pleasant Barentz it bad when they gotta look outside of a school that big to find talent.

      • JHigh

        Maybe if you played some better competition in your broke back mountain league you wouldn't get blown out in Championship game..AGAIN !

      • 1Prouddog

        Stop crying Midland! We know you won't be in Wheeling!....What was last years score? The #1 team in the state my
        a^*!!! Try golf or tennis LOSER!

      • Bulldogs89

        How do u cheat on the field when u whip everyone's A** and to hear u talk I would say we have kicked your teams A** a few times so shut up and jump on the wagon!!!!!

      • EP Haters

        What a crybaby

  • Im grill

    There were questions about the players eligibility , those question should have been addressed before the season in a process provided by the WVSSAC. They chose not to use the process until forced into it. They tried to go around the process and hope they never were asked about his standing. That is circumventing the system in place by the governing body. How can people think that was the right way to approach this. They had a good case it appears so why not just approach the WVSSAC and have a ruling when they knew it was a question? Not about the student or even a school. We trust these people to teach our children and not being straight forward about this raises more serious questions than any athletic status of any student. Do things the right way and be above board then everything you do isn't questioned. Initially ruled inelgible so questions should have been asked by many. Kudos for those who question

    • EP Haters

      And the whole Eastern Panhandle knows who waited until the day of Week 1's game to file the complaint. Why do you assume that MHS is somehow in the wrong?

    • EP Haters

      MHS held him out week 1, requesting clarification from the WVSSAC. They waited until the day of the Morgantown game to make a ruling, and that is when the original injunction was handed down. They sought an official appeal, and the following Friday a judge issued a permanent injunction until the WVSSAC granted the appeal. The appeal was heard last Thursday, a decision was made, and the SSAC released the decision this morning because they were too bust whiping egg from their faces over the weekend.

      No one from MHS circumvented the system, the WVSSAC dropped the ball the whole way.

      • WVU86

        Congrats that Watson is eligible. Should seal MHS's 4th straight title. Still, how can you say the WVSSAC dropped the ball. Why couldn't the county board of education, which provided the "new" information this week to the SSAC, provided this very same information 9 weeks ago. If Watson was always in the right, why did he go off to Maryland and return one year later? I agree no one at MHS was trying to game the system but why didn't the county come to his defense so much sooner with the critical information that made today's ruling what it is?

        • EP Haters

          I wouldn't say it will seal #4, but it goes a long way. Huntington should be a tough opponent.

          The BOE, and MHS, presented the info necessary when the WVSSAC granted the appeal. That is how it's done. As far as "new info" as mentioned above, I'm not sure what that amounts to....but I do know that it was presented at the appropriate time. You ask why they waited so long? Because it took so long for the SSAC to make it's orginial ruling, then it took them almost a month to grant the appeal. The administration and program backed the player the entire time and stood by his eligibility....they did it for a reason. The SSAC obviously did a poor job investigating the situation, just like last year with Elkins.

          • EP Haters

            You ask about Malik "If Watson was always in the right, why did he go off to Maryland and return one year later?" Questioning his return insinuates that there was malice intent the entire time. So you think he tranferred and paid private school tuition, purposely failed the placement exam knowing they'd hold him back so that he can transfer back to WV and be a year older than he would be had he stayed in WV the whole time?? How crazy does that sound?

            He doesn't owe anyone an explanation for why he transferred back. The BOE accompanied him to the 2nd hearing to have the permanent injunction put into place.

  • Jaybo83

    Somewhere, Mr. dellinger is snarling" curses, foiled again. Can't catch that dirty dave walker doing anything wrong".

  • ryan

    What a joke, what county policy said he can be held back? Dude passed all of his classes

    • Shadow

      According to what I read, his parents were not happy with his progress and decided what was best for their son. Their son is not the property of the County.

    • MHSdog93

      The article states that he was retained according to county policy. That means he failed the 8th grade.

  • Boss Nass

    Fire Donnie D!

  • Im grill

    Now that we can all relax . How about the real issues. The WVSSAC process worked( agree or not with the ruling), the far more important questions are how did people who are educators decide in the first place that trying to circumvent the rules was the way to go? Everyone knew way before the season but chose not to use the process provided by state rules. Seriously this is what we teach students? When in doubt don't follow the rules!

    • EP Haters

      What rules were circumvented? It appears that the rules were followed by the administration and football program at MHS....evidenced by his eligibility being permanently reinstated.

  • EPsportsfan

    Congrats to Malique.....Back to the drawing board, Kelly Church, just run some more illegal practices and maybe you wont get beat by 76 in basketball !

    • Brenda C

      Thank you so much for the comment... It is extremely flattering that you are bringing up basketball season and Coach Church in a football article. We look forward to seeing you on the court. Maybe you can introduce yourse- oh wait. That's right, you're one of those that hides behind the anonymous comments section of an online newspaper. Well, anyway, see you there!

  • epeer

    Took all weekend for school board to go back and change passing grades to failing grades.

    • MoeLarryCheese


      When your IQ reaches 50, sell..........

    • 1Prouddog

      epeer, it took all weekend for Martinsburg to beat Hedgesville 76-0! Wait....Martinsburg just scored again! LOL

  • EP Haters

    And the best way to prevent wasting taxpayer dollars and keep the courts out of the equation is to allow kids/schools to request an appeal hearing AND allow the kid to continue playing until that appeal is heard. Allow kids/schools to do this with the agreement that forfeiture rules will be enforced if the initial decision is upheld.

    Oh....and maybe it would be considerate to announce the decision before the kids show up to the game on Fridays.

    • Old school

      I still don't understand y the SSAC shouldn't rule the first season a kid transfers, this all should have been decided years ago.

  • EP Haters

    What a B.S. response, is that the best he could come up with? Ray should've just admitted to dropping the ball. Why do you think it took until today to announce the decision? The whole WVSSAC is a joke...they jumped the gun last year with the kid from Elkins, then this year they do the same without a thorough investigation.

  • DWL

    I wonder if the "new information" that "was revealed" was green?

    • Charlie

      DWL = Driving While a Loser

    • Cabelleer

      Agree. Green speaks VOLUMES!!!!!!!!

    • roger

      No it was ORANGE and BLACK. DWL.

    • 1Prouddog

      DWL the color was not green rather it was black and white....and you lost! Wheeling here we!!!!!

      • Cabelleer

        Get ur bus full from DC area. U guys r cheaters and the ENTIRE state knows it.

        • MoeLarryCheese


          Reading what you wrote is so refreshing. Usually one has to go to a bowling alley for this kind of intellectual stimulation.........

        • 1Prouddog

          Hey Cabelleer....there is room on the bus for waterboys! LOL BTW...Malik played for the Varsity team last year. We don't have a whole new line-up like GW and Midland!

      • rdl

        Whether right or wrong the treat of lawsuits anymore makes decisions harder to make.

    • K

      I think your response revealed a little green as well. Stop hating and let the players do their talking on the field. It is the adults that bring all the drama to sports.

  • 1Prouddog

    What a relief! Good for the kid! Good for high school football in WV! Great job by WVSSAC doing their due diligence in the matter! Now Dogs have to finish their business and get #4! Go Dogs!