Covering High School Sports in America
Photo by Nicholas Koza

Kameron Chatman boxes out in the final minute Tuesday against Mater Dei. He is ineligible to play, but his coach wanted to send a message to the CIF Southern Section.

Coaches and players talk about making a statement in big games. Long Beach Poly (Calif.) did that in an 83-63 loss to Mater Dei Tuesday night, only it was a much different kind of statement - one that could get the entire Jackrabbits athletic program in trouble.

Head coach Sharrief Metoyer put Kameron Chatman into the game in the final minute of the blowout loss. Chatman, the coach's godson from Oregon, was ruled ineligible until March 16, 2013, but Metoyer put him in the game anyway. The Poly crowd cheered loudly for the MaxPreps four-star college recruit as he entered the game, and he hoisted a few jump shots but didn't score.

Photo by Nicholas Koza

Poly players wore #FREEKAM warmup shirts.

The CIF Southern Section ruled long ago that since Chatman played for a travel team Metoyer is affiliated with, he was ineligible to follow his travel team coach to a new school. The fact that he is Metoyer's godson didn't matter.

Metoyer strongly disagreed, and on Tuesday, after his players warmed up in T-shirts that said #FREEKAM, he decided to put the young man into the game.

"An unfair situation happened to a young man who had nothing to do with it and at some point somebody had to make a statement, and I want people to know how unfair it was," he told MaxPreps after the loss. "At the end of the day the game of basketball means nothing. We are in the business of helping kids and when you treat a kid as unfairly as they treated him and you're not consistent with enforcement of rules, somebody has to stand up.

"He's a part of our family. When you hurt one of us you hurt us all."

According to a tweet from @GazettesSports, a Long Beach site, "CIFSS Blue Book Rule 500.5 gives CIF the authority to suspend Poly's athletics program over this violation. This is going to be interesting." Later tweets featured a link to the rule, and also make sure to state that suspending the program is a possibility, not a certainty.

Knowingly allowing an ineligible player to play is likely to be met with some type of consequence. For more on the saga's buildup, click here to see the Long Beach Press-Telegram game preview.

And be sure to stay tuned to see what, if any, fallout will come.

"I am not trying to be anything more than I am, but I am a role model, a mentor and somebody that's helping kids. At the end of the day it was about this young man, it was not about me or Poly. His teammates love him."