GREENSBORO, N.C. -– Guilford County Schools found violations with football programs at seven high schools, after conducting a detailed review of North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) requirements. GCS reported the violations to the NCHSAA on Nov. 24.
As a result of the review and the violations found, three football programs -– Dudley, Andrews and Southeast high schools -– were placed on probation for one year and their head coaches were reprimanded by the NCHSAA.
Four other high schools -– Northeast, Western, Ragsdale and Page -– were fined for failing to complete required paperwork. The NCHSAA also reprimanded the football programs at Western, Ragsdale and Page.
District Athletic Director Leigh Hebbard and other staff reviewed all 15 high school football programs after discovering eligibility issues at Dudley High School earlier this month. After the review, GCS learned at least one ineligible player dressed out for all Dudley High School’s varsity games; Dudley will now forfeit its entire 2014 football season.
The player was on the junior varsity team, but also dressed out for all 10 varsity competitions and took the field in at least four. According to NCHSAA rules, student-athletes who are juniors may not participate in more than one game within one week. NCHSAA rules say that dressing out for a game is the same as participating.
These nine violations are in addition to the one reported after the Southeast High game on Nov. 7, which Dudley forfeited and which kept the school out of the playoffs. Dudley will pay a $500 fine for each violation (for a total of $4,500 in additional fines; the school already paid a $500 fine for the Nov. 7 violation) and will forfeit those games, which means the school forfeits the entire season. In addition, the NCHSAA reprimanded the head coach and placed the football program on probation for one year.
“I’m disappointed to discover these additional violations,” said Jesse Pratt, Dudley High’s principal. “At Dudley High, I expect our staff and students to play by the rules in the classroom and on the athletic field. I will be taking immediate action to ensure these issues will not happen again. This is unfair to our students, our student-athletes, our staff and community, and I am sorry for everything we have learned over the past few weeks.”
Dudley and the six other high schools -– Andrews, Southeast, Northeast, Western, Ragsdale and Page -– failed to complete required paperwork related to the NCHSAA’s eight-quarter rule.
The eight-quarter rule allows freshman and sophomore junior varsity football players to participate in the JV game as well as the varsity game in the same week. The NCHSAA requires two forms to be filled out as part of the process: the first form must be submitted before the student plays in the varsity game.
In addition to being signed by the student’s parent, athletic director and coach, the team’s licensed athletic trainer or physician also has to evaluate the student and sign the form to ensure there are no health concerns before the student may play in a second game in one week.
Failing to fill out the advance form results in a $500 penalty per game. The association will not reduce the fine related to the advance paperwork, because it is critically important to ensure students are evaluated physically before taking the field in two games in one week.
The Monday after the game, an additional form must be completed on the NCHSAA website, listing any players who participated in the eight-quarter program, as well as the number of quarters in which the student-athlete played.
Andrews did not fill out the pre- or post-game paperwork for nine games, for a total of $4,500 in fines. The NCHSAA also reprimanded the head coach and placed the football program on probation for one year. In addition, the school forfeits all nine games and must return to the NCHSAA any money earned during the 2014 playoffs.
Southeast reported seven violations for failing to complete the pre-game paperwork, for a total of $3,500 in fines. The school did complete the post-game paperwork. The head coach was formally reprimanded and the football program was placed on probation for one year.
Four other schools -- Northeast, Western, Ragsdale and Page High schools -- also reported violations for the post-game paperwork, but all four did complete the important pre-game forms, which include the medical evaluation. Western, Ragsdale and Page face a one-time $500 fine and their football programs were reprimanded. The NCHSAA waived Northeast High’s fine due to internal changes the school made before the football season ended.
The eight-quarter athletic violations by school are as follows:
|School||Violation – Pre-Game Paperwork||Violation – Post-Game Paperwork||Total Fines|
|Andrews||Nine games: $4,500||Nine games||$4,500|
|Southeast||Seven games: $3,500||No violation||$3,500|
|Northeast||No violation||$500 flat fee||Waived|
|Western||No violation||$500 flat fee||$500|
|Ragsdale||No violation||$500 flat fee||$500|
|Page||No violation||$500 flat fee||$500|
“I’m disappointed to find schools were not following the rules,” said GCS Athletic Director Leigh Hebbard. “This is not new information, and we expect coaches and athletic directors to know and follow NCHSAA rules governing their sports.”
All head football coaches are required to attend a mandatory NCHSAA rules clinic every summer. Athletic directors receive updates, information and reminders about association rules throughout the year, and the district athletic director reviews any changes with athletic directors prior to the start of each season as well. Athletic directors are expected to present an NCHSAA powerpoint to all coaches every year; the presentation provides a review of attendance, academic and residency rules, as well as regulations governing eligibility.
As a result of these issues, school athletic directors will now receive additional training on the NCHSAA policies and procedures. Hebbard also will work individually with the schools that had the greatest number of issues. In addition, Hebbard will develop a district-wide protocol to handle the eight-quarter rule and how it is reported and tracked in the future.