Marc Schaffer doesn’t have regrets. If the father of Cheverus High School basketball star Indiana Faithfull had to relive February of 2010 knowing what he knows now, he would.

“I wouldn’t trade one minute of it,” said Schaffer, who along with his wife went to court to keep his son playing. “With everything that Indi went through — the experience of having something taken away and the fight to take it back — we wouldn’t have done anything differently.”

On Monday, the Maine Principals’ Association vacated the Maine and Western Maine championships that Cheverus won that winter, because Faithfull was an ineligible player.

A transfer student from Australia, he had completed eight consecutive semesters of high school when the principals’ association declared in January 2010 that he couldn’t keep playing basketball.

Faithfull’s family disagreed, appealed to the MPA for a waiver and got denied. Their appeal to a Cumberland County Superior Court judge was heard and an injunction was granted to keep the 6-foot-3 point guard playing. Cheverus would be held in contempt of court if Faithfull did not play.

When he did play, Faithfull was held in contempt by opposing fans. Cries of “cheater” were among the nicer comments he heard from the stands, especially when Cheverus beat Westbrook High to win the Western Maine Class A championship, and then beat Edward Little High of Auburn for the state title.

The heat from the anger and hate directed at Faithfull did cool. It has been more than 30 months since the tournament games were played.

Monday’s announcement restoked the fire, but not for Nick Jobin, who was a senior leader on the Westbrook team that year. Not for James Philbrook, who was a senior on Edward Little’s team.

“I put myself in his shoes,” Jobin said Tuesday. “I could feel the hostility (in the crowd). It was awesome the way he handled it. I shook his hand afterward. He had a lot to be proud of in dealing with that negativity.

“Indi was part of that Cheverus team and part of their season,” Jobin said. “He made them the team that they were, and that was the team we wanted to beat. I think my teammates were all on the same page. We wanted to beat the best. We had our chance.”

Did Faithfull have an advantage because he had an extra semester? Did his extra time in Australia, waiting to come to the U.S., give him an edge?

“I didn’t see it,” said Jobin.

Jobin, Philbrook and Faithfull were summer teammates on a Maine AAU basketball team. They practiced, traveled and played together. Jobin and Philbrook got to know Faithfull as someone other than the opponent from Australia.

“I loved the kid,” said Philbrook. “It’s unfortunate what happened. Everything. It stunk to lose, of course. We (Edward Little) worked hard to win that game. But Indi was part of (Cheverus). I don’t think it was right to say he couldn’t play. I wouldn’t have wanted to play that game without him.”

Jobin and Philbrook are now teammates at St. Joseph’s College in Standish. Both are juniors.

Faithfull prepped for a year at St. Thomas More School in Connecticut and is now a sophomore at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C.

Jobin has visited Faithfull on his Facebook page but they’ve essentially fallen out of touch, as has Philbrook.

“We both had a passion to play basketball,” said Philbrook. “That’s what brought us together. That hasn’t changed.”

The MPA’s action brought back memories of that winter to Jennie Gwilym of Freeport, mother of Peter Gwilym, the star football player at Cheverus who was also on the basketball team.

“This is kind of unveiling itself in slow motion the past couple of days,” said Gwilym. “You can take away the trophy, but what these kids experienced, you can’t take. They had such amazing chemistry. They had great coaches at Cheverus, John Wolfgram in football and Bob Brown in basketball, who teach selflessness. That’s why they won.

“As parents, we all spent a lot of time with Indi when his couldn’t be here,” she said. “He’s kind, appreciative. He’s a good soul.”

Schaffer, speaking before dawn Wednesday in Australia, said he feels stronger than ever that an injustice is being done by the principals’ association. Born in Massachusetts, he is an American — as is his son, whose paternal grandfather worked in the civil rights movement in the 1960s.

His mother, Janeen Faithfull, was a sprinter on the 1980 Australian Olympic team, which joined the U.S. in boycotting the Moscow Olympics.

“I’ve finally gone to this conclusion,” said Schaffer: “Everyone’s made stronger by the adversity we encounter in life. Indi was enriched and made better and stronger by this experience. I think a lot of people were.”

Staff Writer Steve Solloway can be contacted at 791-6412 or at:

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