Southern Section Gives Leland Sparks OK to Play

Leland Sparks, a fifth-year senior at Santa Ana Mater Dei High, has been cleared to play football by the Southern Section Executive Committee, Commissioner Stan Thomas said Wednesday.

Sparks, who transferred from Van Nuys Montclair Prep three weeks ago, had been granted a fifth year of eligibility by Southern Section officials two weeks ago. At the time, however, Sparks' transcripts from Montclair Prep showed that he had not completed the required 20 units during the spring semester and therefore was academically ineligible.

Wednesday, Southern Section officials reviewed another transcript provided by Montclair Prep, which showed that Sparks had met the requirement for eligibility.

"We had a corrected transcript, and in a (class) where no grade appeared before, a passing grade has been inserted," Thomas said. "He now meets the required 20 units."

Sparks, a wide receiver/defensive back who has been practicing with Mater Dei for a week, still had a grade-point average for the spring semester of less than the required 2.0. However, he can be placed on academic probation, which would allow him to play.

Lyle Porter, Mater Dei principal, said Sparks would not play tonight against Riverside Poly.

Porter is reviewing Sparks' class performance, and a decision should be made in the next week on when he will be allowed to play.

Derek Sparks, Leland's cousin, also transferred to Mater Dei three weeks ago and is playing football. He is on academic probation.

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