Gators' appeal falls on deaf ears
The Goose Creek Gators remain disqualified from the football playoffs after an unsuccessful appeal in front of the South Carolina High School League's Executive Committee on Wednesday evening.
The unbeaten Gators were disqualified from the postseason on Tuesday after self reporting an ineligible player on the roster, discovered after Friday's 48-7 win over Conway.
Goose Creek High School and the Berkeley County School District made the appeal in a closed-door session, citing 'extraordinary conditions,' but the original decision was upheld, meaning the unbeaten and nationally ranked Gators will not have a shot to repeat as Class AAAA Div. II champions.
The issue centered around a fifth-year senior that had transferred to Goose Creek this year from within the school district. Student-athletes only have four years of football eligibility, a clock that begins when they begin high school as freshmen.
On a transcript review in September for football season, an online transcript showed the student-athlete had been in high school for only three years. But when GCHS Principal Jimmy Huskey was reviewing transcripts again for the upcoming basketball season, he said the transcript showed the athlete in question had in fact had already been in high school for four years.
He notified the SCHSL of the violation and it led to Goose Creek's removal from the playoffs.
The Gators, sporting a No. 1 ranking in the state, were the favorites to win the championship for the second straight season. They captured their first-ever football title last season by going 14-1.
It's a stunning end for arguably the best team in school history.
Goose Creek becomes the second team to get booted from the playoffs in recent weeks. Lower Richland was removed from the Class AAA bracket after playing an ineligible player all season.
Another school, Byrnes, was spared the ax after reporting it had dressed an ineligible player against Dorman during the regular season. The Rebels forfeited the game but remained in the postseason.