DC Athlete Kicked Off Team Due to Homelessness Is Offered a Home - NBC4 Washington

DC Athlete Kicked Off Team Due to Homelessness Is Offered a Home

The homeless 18-year-old was ineligible to play because his address could not be verified

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Ballou HS Football Player Ineligible Due to Homelessness

    A Ballou High School student and football player was deemed ineligible to play football because he doesn't have a permanent address. His struggles with homelessness may put his college dream in jeopardy. News4's Shomari Stone reports. (Published Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018)

    A homeless high school football player who was kicked off of his school's team because he did not have a permanent address has been offered a home, and school officials say he'll be put back on the team. 

    Jamal Speaks, an 18-year-old running back for the Ballou High School Knights, is being recruited by Temple University.

    But he recently was kicked off the D.C. high school's team, as News4 reported

    D.C. Public Schools officials said the District of Columbia State Athletic Association determined that Speaks was eligible to play, but they said the District of Columbia Interscholastic Athletic Association (DCSAA) ruled that he was ineligible because they could not verify his address.

    A local shelter for homeless youth, Covenant House Greater Washington, heard Speaks' story and offered him a home, they announced Wednesday. 

    "After hearing that Jamal was experiencing homelessness and at-risk of losing the ability to pursue his dream of attending college and playing football, I knew that CHGW had to help," the organization's CEO, Dr. Madye Henson, said in a statement.

    D.C. Public Schools said Wednesday that Speaks can now practice and play with his team.

    "With the best interest of the student and the entire Ballou Knights football team in mind, we are working with DCSAA to resolve this matter as quickly as possible," the district said in a statement.

    Speaks told News4 he's homeless and sleeps on friends' couches. He said his father is deceased and he doesn't have a relationship with his mother. 

    Ward 8 Council Member Trayon White and local sports reporter Monet Anderson helped advocate for him. 

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