Forfeited Football Games-1962
For the Aquinas College High School class of 1963, a major event was the declaring of Jim Fortkamp ineligible for football in October, 1962. It caused us to forfeit 6 football games that season. Who turned us in to the Ohio Athletic Association (OAA) seems to be a controversy even today. The real facts are: Fr. James G. Crombie, O.P. called me into his office two periods before he announced that Jim was ineligible and our games forfeited. As President of Aquinas, he wanted to know how I thought the students would react to the news. I said expect a riot. He then told me what happened.
Fr. Crombie ran into a priest from St. Charles while at the game. (Aquinas 20 – St. Charles 0) The priest asked him “Didn’t Fortkamp go to the Josephinum before Aquinas?”. Crombie replied, “Yes”, then the priest said that that would make Jim ineligible for football. Crombie said: “No! The OAA ruled on that the year before, and they said Fortkamp was eligible”. Fr. Crombie called the President of the OAA --Mr. Webster-- the following Monday and talked to him about it. Webster said Jim was INELIGIBLE under the OAA Rules and that all our games were forfeited. Webster said he did not know Aquinas had inquired about it earlier. Fr. Crombie said he called OAA because he felt he had “a moral obligation to verify Jim’s eligibility” since he did not talk to the OAA the year before - someone else from Aquinas did. He asked me not to tell anyone about our meeting.
Why did Fr. Crombie tell me? I can only surmise that it was my involvement in student activities, not being on the football team, and I served the daily 8:05 Mass since I was a freshman. So who turned Aquinas into the OAA over Fortkamp’s eligibility? Father James G.Crombie,O.P. President of Aquinas. In other words, Aquinas turned itself in and accepted the consequences.
Thomas Aquinas Burke
Aquinas College High School – Class of 1963
May 9, 2003