Johns Creek High School accused of illegal recruiting
FULTON COUNTY, GA (CBS ATLANTA) -
CBS Atlanta News is breaking allegations of more illegal recruiting in Fulton County Schools. The allegations come just two months after Milton High School's head basketball coach resigned under similar scrutiny.
Investigators are looking into claims that Johns Creek High School recruited two superstar athletes to one of their teams and the allegations involve cheerleaders.
They are arguably two of the best tumblers in the state, Shayla Moore and Angel Rice, and they bumped two other girls off the Johns Creek team this year.
"Both of these athletes at Johns Creek were on the teams that won the world championship and they are commonly known in the cheerleading world as being power, power tumblers," said Jamie Parrish, owner of Georgia All Star Cheerleading.
Some parents began questioning how and why the girls showed up on the Johns Creek team.
"It was done very quickly, very quietly, very quietly, it was very suspicious," said parent Kimberly Hartwell.
"The odds of that happening are very slim," she said.
The transfers from outside the district raised concerns of other parents and competitors who questioned what perks made the girls move from their former schools.
"It is against the rules in college for us to pay athletes," said parent Libbe Bousquet. "It should be against the rule at a high school level to pay athletes, period."
Public records showed the house in Alpharetta that Rice and her family now call home was bought right before the start of the school year by CBD investments. CBD is owned by the husband of Johns Creek Booster club member and Trinity Athletics owner Cori Davenport. Both the girls now train at Davenport's gym.
"You have these richer, more affluent who can afford to do things like buy these athletes houses, and move them in for the competitive advantage. And really, it's not fair," Parrish said.
Both of the girls' mothers refused to speak to CBS Atlanta News. Moore now lives in an apartment across from the high school, but her parents still own a home in Clayton County where she went to school last year.
"By stacking a team due to unfair advantages of a certain area, it takes away from the sport," Bousquet said.
Cori Davenport originally agreed to an on-camera interview but then backed out and called an attorney. The Fulton County School District and coach Brianne Garramone also dodged questions from CBS Atlanta News.
The district referred CBS Atlanta News to Dr. Ralph Swearingin with the Georgia High School Association.
"If the school did not initiate the contact but after that initial contact they did things to sweeten the pot so to speak then they can be guilty of undue influence," Swearingin said.
The Georgia High School Association is in the process of investigating the allegations.
"There are some strong charges that have been levied and we have found there some that need further discussion and some of them we found did not have basis," Swearingin said.
The rules require students to make a bona fide transfer with their entire family to be eligible for varsity sports. If the rules were broken, it can carry a hefty fine, teams can be forced to give up their titles, banned from postseason play, and it can even cost a coach their job.
"It's very important that we do two things, "Swearingin said. "No. 1, that we keep schools from recruiting, stocking up on athletes, and No. 2 that we stop parents from shopping their children for athletic purposes."
Swearingin has found there was no evidence of wrongdoing on the students' part. But he's looking into whether the school knew about any undue influence, or participated in any illegal recruiting.
That investigation should be done in the next few weeks.
Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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