A North Carolina high school football coach has resigned amidst an ongoing grade fixing scandal that has captured local imagination in part because so little is known about it.
As reported by North Carolina ABC affiliate WTVD, Clayton football coach Hunter Jenks resigned his role at the school Tuesday, just days before the opening of the 2019 season as an internal investigation into grade fixing continued. His departure had already been preceded by the departure of Clayton principal Dr. Bennett Jones, also with the grade fixing scandal underway.
The Clayton school district announced that Jenks was accepting a coaching position in a different school district, but did not provide further details. Meanwhile, all that is known of the investigation is Jenks’ assertion that he has been told no evidence of wrongdoing was uncovered.
What is known is just how significant Jenks’ last minute departure was on Clayton’s team psyche and performance; in the team’s season opener on Friday, the Comets fell 48-2, to Richmond (N.C.) High School. Clayton was down 21-0 after the first quarter and reports from the game intimated that the final score could have even been worse.
Things should get better for Clayton interim coach Robert Senseney. Richmond is one of the state’s top programs, after all. Still, it’s impossible to overlook the impact of the sudden and unexpected departure of Jenks, even if that does prove to be a move forward for the program in the long run.
“To be very frank, we told our kids that we’re a unit all together as coaches, players, support staff. We have to protect our program, our school, and our community,” Senseney told HighSchoolOT. “That’s our job and that’s what we’re going to do – protect the ‘C’ on our helmet, the ‘C’ on our jersey … that’s our focus right now.”