MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The defending Tennessee AA State Champions are being forced to forfeit a series of games in the midst of an internal investigation into grade discrepancies.
Tennessee Secondary School Athletics Association said Trezevant High School's principal and staff uncovered the violations during an audit and immediately reported them to TSSAA.
"I am very disappointed that our students have to suffer the consequences of the actions of a handful of selfish adults," Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dorsey Hopson wrote on Twitter.
In addition to forfeiting all the games already played, Trezevant will forfeit all games played before the internal investigation is completed.
The high school's homecoming game will also be impacted. One student said that meant the school would miss out on homecoming week festivities.
"I never experienced this in a high school, that you can have a homecoming game; that's crazy," student Jonquett Haggett said.
"We understand the impact this has on our students, but it's necessary as we fully understand the seriousness of the situation," the school said in a statement. "This situation is unfortunate, particularly for the student athletes who work so hard every day to have success in the classroom and on the playing field. However, we want to assure parents and the community that we have the utmost confidence in Principal Mackin to see that students are supported in every possible way at Trezevant High."
The discrepancies were discovered by Principal Ronnie Mackin and his staff. They were conducting an audit to ensure all students had proper course selection for graduation when the academic discrepancies were found. The discrepancies were reported to District officials and an internal investigation is now underway.
Although the District has not confirmed if any of the staff members were involved or disciplined, students believe the football team's head coach, Teli White, has been let go.
"He don't do stuff like that. Coach White wouldn't never do nothing like that," Gregory Seals said. "These are some good teachers they are letting loose. These are some good teachers. They been here for a long time."
Coach White said he was not able to make a comment and the school district wouldn't comment either on the situation.
Shelby County Schools said it had no reason to think the issue goes beyond Trezevant High School, but the District will be reaching out to all schools to remind them of the auditing procedures that are in place in order to verify accurate academic records.
With the football season of the defending champions now in peril, students were visibly upset.
"Sad, mad, angry, heartbroken, speechless," student Kadazjia Jones said. "We shouldn't have to suffer for nothing."