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TSSAA: Recruiting violation leads to punishment for Grundy County HS football program

Grundy Co. High School -WTVC.png
The Grundy County High School football team and coaches are being punished after a recruiting incident last month, according to the TSSAA. (Image: WTVC)

The Grundy County High School football team and two coaches are being punished after a recruiting incident last month, according to the TSSAA.

In a July 31 letter to the school's principal, the TSSAA says Grundy County High School (GCHS) officials self-reported a violation of the recruitment rule, Article II, Section 17 of the TSSAA bylaws.

The letter says that around 3 p.m. Saturday, July 20, two student-athletes from Sequatchie County High School arrived at GCHS. Two Grundy County coaches were there, and aware of the visit. The report says the two players were joined by Grundy County students, and put on football jerseys and took pictures and videos. Afterward, the two students were allowed to come to a football meet and greet with Mr. Josh Dobbs at Tullahoma High School. They were transported with the Grundy County players on the school bus to the event and back.

The TSSAA says the Grundy County football program violated the recruitment rule in this incident, and the administration was asked to deal with the situation,

The letter says GCHS took the following action:

-- Head Football Coach Tracy Hayworth is suspended from two home football games: the August 30 game against South Pittsburg, and the September 9 game against York Institute. Coach Hayworth will not be allowed on school campus during these games, under threat of dismissal from the program.

-- Assistant Football Coach Nick Meeks is suspended from one home game and one away game: the September 13 home game against Bledsoe County, and the September 20 away game against DeKalb County. Like Hayworth, Coach Meeks will not be allowed on school campus during these game,s under threat of immediate dismissal from the program.

-- The Grundy County High School football program is on probation for two years, which normally carries with it a $500 fine per year, but the TSSAA has waived it because the violation was self-reported.

During the probation, the school can participate in football at all levels, including the season-ending playoff series, but may face additional punishment by the TSSAA if further violations are made.

With the approval of the TSSAA, GCHS administration also placed the following sanctions on the football program during their probation:

YEAR ONE - Aug. 30, 2019 through Aug. 29, 2020

  • No more than one spring scrimmage (home only)
  • No more than one fall scrimmage (home only)
  • Minimum of two coaches present at all times during conditioning & weightlifting
  • Fieldhouse schedule will be completed by head coach & approved by GCHS administration
  • Fieldhouse policy developed by head coach & clearly posted; approved by administration

YEAR TWO - Aug. 30, 2020 through Aug. 29, 2021

  • Minimum of two coaches present at all times during conditioning & weightlifting
  • Fieldhouse schedule will be completed by head coach & approved by GCHS administration
  • Fieldhouse policy developed by head coach & clearly posted; approved by administration

Several other actions are being taken by administration, including putting cameras inside the fieldhouse to view the main weight room and coach's office as a safety precaution for players and coaches.

The TSSAA says the two Sequatchie County High School student-athletes involved are ineligible to participate in athletics at GCHS during the 2019-2020 school year.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

You can read the TSSAA disciplinary letter below:


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