Two wins have been taken away from the Langley-based Trinity Western University (TWU) Spartans men’s basketball team for having an ineligible player on their team.
When Ja’Qualyn Gilbreath transferred to TWU from Lubbock Christian in Amarillo, Texas last year, the high-scoring 6-foot-1 guard nicknamed “Q” was an immediate sensation, averaging 27 points a game.
— TWU Spartans (@TWUSpartans) January 14, 2020
When TWU lost to Fraser Valley in January, Gilbreath was a standout, with 32 points alongside seven rebounds, six assists and three steals.
For Gilbreath, it was his fifth-straight 30-point game, the best performance by a TWU basketball player in Canada West history.
But later that month, the university issued a statement revealing Gilbreath was not eligible to play under a rule that states when a “student-athlete is not a Canadian citizen or does not have permanent resident status in Canada” they are not allowed to play for “365 days from the date that the athlete last participated in the sport.”
Jeff Gamache, Director of Athletics described it as an “administrative error” that was reported to Canada West as soon as TWU realized their mistake.
“It guts me to know that Ja’Qualyn and the team have been impacted by our administrative error,” Gamache said.
As a result, this month, two November victories by TWU against MacEwan University, with Gilbreath playing, were overturned and will be recorded as 20-0 victories for MacEwan, per Canada West forfeiture policies.
With the decision, TWU ended up at the bottom of Canada West standings for the season with a record of 0-20.
Gilbreath will be able to play next year, Gamache told the Langley Advance Times.
“That will be his fifth and final year of eligibility.”
Canada West spokesperson Evan Daum said Gilbreath will have “no individual stats for the 2019-20 season.”
“All other individual stats from the games in question will remain attributed to the appropriate players,” Daum added.
Daum said he could not comment on whether there had been a complaint about Gilbreath being ineligible prior to the announcement by TWU.
U SPORTS was still reviewing the matter, spokesperson Alan Hudes said.
Gilbreath was not available for comment, TWU spokesperson Mark Janzen advised, because the investigation was ongoing.
U Sports is the national sport governing body of university sport in Canada, comprising the majority of degree-granting universities in the country.
Canada West is one of four conferences within U SPORTS, with 17 members in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, including Trinity Western University, UBC, University of the Fraser Valley, University of Northern British Columbia and the University of Victoria.
Participating schools, team officials and individual student-athletes are required to follow Canada West and U SPORTS policies, including bylaws, regulations and eligibility requirements.