Release, Berkeley County School District:
MONCKS CORNER, SC -- The Goose Creek Gators lost their second appeal on Monday when the South Carolina High School League voted 14-0 to uphold the league constitution and lost 2-12 in a mercy vote to reinstate the team to the playoffs.
The decision ends a week long effort by Principal Jimmy Huskey and Coach Chuck Reedy to uphold their obligation to students while following the league's constitutional rules. Last week, the school self-reported a potential student eligibility conflict to the league. The league took swift and immediate action to penalize the team through forfeiture of regular season games, thus ending a bid for the state championship. At an appeal hearing on Wednesday, November 14, the league upheld its constitution by a 9-2 vote, and refused to allow a hardship circumstance to be ratified by 10-1.
The team, number one in the state and number 11 in the nation (ranked by USAToday), was disappointed by the appeal outcome. The district sought legal action on Thursday, November 15 through the Joye Law Firm, who provided legal services at no cost to the district. The district appealed to South Carolina Ninth Circuit, Judge Roger Young presiding, who granted a temporary restraining order on Friday, November 16. The TRO allowed Goose Creek to compete in Friday's game against Bluffton where the team won 35-25. The judge also instructed the SCHSL that they must hold a second appeal meeting in public to rehear the case on or before Monday, November 19 at 5 p.m.
The student transcript in question originally showed three years of high school completed by the student prior to joining the Goose Creek football squad in August 2012. When the student applied for winter sports on November 12, an updated transcript showed that the student may have also attended a fourth year of school.
The student, who is a special needs student, did not physically attend high school prior to February 2010. The league's rules state that an eligible student must not be enrolled for more than eight semesters. The student did matriculate but did not physically attend Woodmont High School his freshman year while enrolled at the Generations Group Home, a home for abused boys.
"We are so appreciative of the Goose Creek community and their support for this team and the season," Principal Jimmy Huskey said. "We are disappointed for our players and for our community."