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Valdosta High School football receives postseason ban, other penalties from GHSA

Posted at 11:11 AM, Apr 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-14 12:11:01-04

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WTXL) — The Valdosta High School football team will not be able to participate in postseason play for the 2021 season after the Georgia High School Association found the program violated several GHSA rules and by-laws.

In a letter to Valdosta City Schools Superintendent William "Todd" Cason, Georgia High School Association Executive Director Robin Hines outlines violations the association says were committed by head coach Rush Propst and certain members of the Valdosta Touchdown Club or other boosters.

After reviewing several documents in reference to the Valdosta High football program, Hines found the Wildcats in violation by-laws relating to recruiting and lack of administrative control. He found that Propst and other boosters "recruited and used undue influence" with the transfers of five student athletes to Valdosta High School.

One of those athletes was Jake Garcia, who was ruled ineligible in September after a two week investigation by the GHSA.

Garcia transferred to Grayson to finish out his senior season, where he won a state championship. He graduated early and is now enrolled at Miami. The other four athletes are rising seniors, and are declared ineligible to participate in any GHSA sponsored activity for a period of one calendar year.

The letter also states that Valdosta High School shall forfeit any interscholastic event or activity in which any of the five students participated in. The school will also be fined a total of $5,000 for the recruiting violations, plus an additional $2,500 for "lack of institutional control."

Valdosta High School has also been placed on probation for the 2021 season, which bars them from competing in any championship during the period of suspension.

ABC 27 spoke with Dr. Cason after Tuesday's regularly scheduled Valdosta City Schools board meeting. He said they have submitted an appeal to every sanction handed down by the GHSA Tuesday. That appeal will be heard April 19th at 9:00 in the morning.

In a statement to ABC 27, Propst said that "we are going to let the process continue and hopefully the truth will come out."

VHS Penalty Letter 2021 by WTXL ABC27 on Scribd

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.