Goose Creek out of the playoffs again; SCHSL denies mercy - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Goose Creek out of the playoffs again; SCHSL denies mercy

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A lawyer (left) for Goose Creek High School arrives in Columbia to challenge the SCHSL ruling. Goose Creek Gators (Middle). Coach Chuck Reedy (Right) arrives for the hearing on Monday. A lawyer (left) for Goose Creek High School arrives in Columbia to challenge the SCHSL ruling. Goose Creek Gators (Middle). Coach Chuck Reedy (Right) arrives for the hearing on Monday.
COLUMBIA, SC (WCSC) -

The Goose Creek High School football team is out of the playoffs again following a hearing in Columbia where school officials sought to challenge the South Carolina High School League's original decision to disqualify the team because of an ineligible player.

The SCHSL voted 14-0 to uphold the league's previous ruling that a player on the school's football team was ineligible to play. Following that vote, committee members voted 12-2 to deny Goose Creek mercy thereby ending the football team's season.

Goose Creek High School officials were back in Columbia meeting with the South Carolina High School League to determine the status of their football team's disqualification.

Principal Jimmy Huskey was first to speak to the panel following a 30 minute executive closed session at 2 p.m. which committee members said was needed since some members were not present during the last session.

SCHSL commissioner Jerome Singleton ruled last week that Goose Creek had used an ineligible player and ended the football team's season by banning them from the playoffs. The next day, the SCHSL committee agreed with Singleton's decision.

"We're all educators here, we have the opportunity to show we care about young people and doing what it takes to make them successful," said Huskey, who told the panel on Monday that they plan to present new information regarding the eligibility of a player who was previously deemed ineligible.

A Goose Creek councilor then spoke saying that he can't stress the impact football has had on John Doe, the football player who was deemed ineligible which brought the league to disqualify the team from the playoffs.

"I could not be more impressed with people at Goose Creek," Goose Creek Lawyer Ken Harrell said."It's clear they have the same level of commitment for all the kids."

Harrell told the panel that the hearing was not adversarial,"We just want to make the right decision."

Harrell said that they were not here to rehash the decision from last week.

According to Harrell, the board has been vilified because of the previous decision they had made, but all the information the board was provided was not complete. Harrell said that the student in question was indeed eligible. Harrell said based on the evidence, and the school's constitution, the student's 2008-2009 school year should not be counted towards Doe's eligibility, which is the main point of contention in the case.

Committee members then began to ask specific and through questions regarding John Doe's enrollment and transfer eligibility rules.

The committee then voted 14-0 to uphold the league's previous ruling that John Doe was ineligible to play.

The school then asked for mercy. Reedy asked the committee to punish the school or punish him. Reedy told the panel that,"This doesn't have to be the death penalty."

"I promise you we did nothing wrong," Principal Huskey told the panel."I'm asking for mercy, I can deal with the fine."

The panel then denied mercy to the school voting 12-2 against reinstating the team's playoff run despite impassioned pleas from the school superintendent and coach.

On Friday, Ninth Circuit Judge Roger Young ordered a temporary restraining order on the South Carolina High School League's decision to rule a Goose Creek player ineligible and disqualify the team from the playoffs.

The ruling allowed the Gators to play Bluffton Friday night. They defeated Bluffton 35-25.

The SCHSL and Goose Creek officials are meeting to decide if the player in question qualifies for extraordinary circumstances that would extend his eligibility. The meeting is being held in open session.

If Goose Creek is found ineligible, the Gators will forfeit and Bluffton will move on.

On Friday, Judge Young said his ruling was based around questions surrounding the players eligibility.

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