Basha junior running back and defensive back Deshaun Buchanan, who sat out last week after an alleged prior contact violation was reported to the Arizona Interscholastic Association, has been cleared to play the rest of the season.
"I’m grateful that I can put all this behind me and I can get back to focusing on more important things," Buchanan said in a text message. "This relieves a lot of stress I’ve had all week and I’m glad I can go out there and contribute to my team in winning tomorrow."
Buchanan was held out of the Bears' season opener against Sandra Day O'Connor for precautionary reasons by Basha Athletic Director Eric Magana after an anonymous email was sent to the AIA alleging prior contact between him and head football coach Chris McDonald in March at an Under Armour skills camp. McDonald was hired as support staff for the camp where he said he "picked up trash."
Buchanan, who participated in the camp, was coached by those directly from Under Armour. No local high school coaches took part in any of the drills held at Higley High School.
However, according to AIA bylaw 126.96.36.199, McDonald's presence at the camp could have been deemed prior contact. If Buchanan had played against O'Connor and was later ruled ineligible, Basha would likely have had to forfeit the contest. The Bears beat the Eagles 42-17.
McDonald said a hearing had been initially schedule to take place Tuesday, Sept. 7. However, he said Thursday officials from the 6A Conference reviewed the paperwork sent in by Basha and ruled no violation had occurred.
"We got the message directly from the AIA," McDonald said. "It feels good. But most importantly, it's good for the kid. The AIA did the right thing. He shouldn't have to sit out a year for that."
Buchanan transferred from Hamilton to Basha this summer after a racial slur was used by a Hamilton assistant coach in the team locker room during a summer workout when referencing words heard in explicit music being played. Cole Martin, one of the top players in the country in the 2023 class, also transferred. Both won hardship appeals to be immediately eligible this season.
McDonald said Martin's name was also mentioned in the anonymous email sent to the AIA. However, Martin was injured and did not participate in the camp.
The AIA's ruling now clears the way for Buchanan to join a star-studded defense for the Bears. He will also make an immediate impact at running back alongside sophomore quarterback Demond Williams in the backfield.
Basha plays rival Perry at 7 p.m. on Friday.
"I applaud the AIA for doing the right thing," McDonald said. "Our team is going to be pretty happy about it."