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NSAA rules Gretna must vacate 2021 Class A football title

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Gretna’s Class A football championship has been vacated by the NSAA board after the school was determined to have used an ineligible player.

Gretna’s Class A football championship was vacated by the NSAA board after the school was determined to have used an ineligible player.

LINCOLN — Gretna’s Class A football championship was vacated by the NSAA board after the school was determined to have used an ineligible player.

The board voted 8-0 Thursday to strip the title from the Dragons, but it allowed their players to keep the medals from their 7-3 win over Omaha Westside in last November’s state final at Memorial Stadium. The ruling means there will be no 2021 Class A football champion.

The vote upheld NSAA Executive Director Jay Bellar’s ruling that Tyson Boganowski, a junior who had played previously for Papillion-La Vista South, had not made a bona fide change in domicile as required by the NSAA.

The appeal hearing was conducted in closed session at the request of the school. Testimony was heard for 2½ hours, then the board deliberated for more than two hours.

Tyson Boganowski was at Papio South as a freshman and sophomore. This past season, he appeared in all 13 Gretna games.

He caught 22 passes for 188 yards and one touchdown. That score came in a 14-7 quarterfinal win over Elkhorn South. Against Westside, he had season bests of six catches for 47 yards.

According to public records, his father, Bryan Boganowski, owns a home in the Titan Springs addition of Papillion but used the address of an apartment in Gretna when he registered as a lobbyist with the Nebraska Legislature. That filing was dated Jan. 7, 2022.

Bellar said the NSAA received a complaint in early December from a member school. The NSAA staff investigated, and in late December Bellar notified Gretna that he found the player to be ineligible. Gretna then appealed the ruling to the NSAA board.

Bellar said because it was a closed hearing, he couldn’t share many details about the findings or board’s deliberations.

Rich Beran, Gretna’s superintendent of schools, told The World-Herald that the district was “very disappointed” by the ruling.

Beran said Tyson Boganowski enrolled at Gretna on April 12, before the May 1 deadline for schools to notify the NSAA of option-enrollment students entering their districts in the next fall semester. Because Gretna Public Schools doesn't accept open enrollment or other transfers, the superintendent said it has never filed a May 1 list.

“He registers for classes, we get the transcripts from Papillion. So they know he’s over here. We’re not trying to hide it,” Beran said. “He goes to class all spring, talks to the coach, talks about football.”

Because Boganowski was not on the May 1 list, he needed to have a change of address to transfer and be eligible without sitting out 90 school days. The school also thought he was from a single-parent family because only his father was there to enroll him. But the Boganowskis are separated.

Text messages to Bryan Boganowski were not immediately returned.

“It’s on a technicality, that we didn’t have a separation that was on a legal document, in their mind,” Beran said. “They live in our district, the boy and his dad, but because we don’t have an official document that’s what they’re nailing us on.”

He said the school asked for a closed hearing to protect the family’s privacy. But as is its protocol for hearings, the NSAA identified the player before asking the school to reaffirm its preference for an open or closed hearing. The player’s last name also was clearly written on an attorney’s binder.

“That kid, and all those kids, the bottom line is they still have a championship,” Beran said. “They know they won. They have the memories of a trophy.”

This is the first time since 1919 that a state championship in Nebraska has been vacated. Holbrook was stripped of its Class F basketball title for use of an ineligible player. Deshler, which lost to the Hornets in the final, was given the championship trophy.

Omaha Flanagan relinquished the 1989 Class C boys track and field title because it used an ineligible athlete. The meet was rescored and Battle Creek became champion.

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