Giles County must forfeit its five football wins and will miss the Class 3A playoffs after it played an ineligible player this season. The school also was fined $700 — $100 for every game in which the player participated.
This marks the third time the Giles County football program has been disciplined for TSSAA violations under the leadership of coach David O’Connor during his two stints as the Bobcats’ coach. However, it marks the first time the program has forfeited wins.
The TSSAA ruled Giles County played an ineligible player in its first seven games. The athlete originally was ruled eligible based on a bona fide change of residence. However, the TSSAA and Giles County administration later verified that the school was provided false information.
According to a letter to Giles County Principal Donna Cobb from TSSAA executive director Bernard Childress, the athlete’s “family unit” moved into the Giles County zone to make the athlete eligible. Afterward, one of his parents moved back to the original residence.
TSSAA bylaws state that if an athlete has been ruled eligible as a result of change of residence, and the parents or guardian returns to the former residence before the student has been enrolled in the new school for 12 months, the athlete is then ineligible.
Giles County’s violation is the latest in a troubling year for TSSAA football programs. At least four schools have been forced to forfeit games for playing ineligible athletes.