My alma mater, Grady High, in football scandal

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It’s my honor to share my life history with you and sometimes there are some disheartening aspects.

I graduated from Grady High School in Atlanta, home of the Grey Knights. I played junior varsity and two years varsity football there, and ran track. We were never a football powerhouse, quite competitive but always seemed to lose those close games. Last year October I went back to Grady to speak with the JROTC cadets and was thoroughly impressed, amazed actually, at ol’ Grady stadium, now named after my former head football coach, Eddie Sylvester Henderson. However, my ol’ school has become a football success story but it seems to have come at an expense.

According to a report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Grady High School’s football team must forfeit victories from last season, and the school is barred from participating in the playoffs next season because several players were fraudulently enrolled at the school, according to penalties assessed by the Georgia High School Association on Tuesday.

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An Atlanta Public Schools investigation found this month that at least 14 football players used falsified residency documents to attend Grady. GHSA Executive Director Ralph Swearngin wrote that four students violated eligibility rules. The Grady Grey Knights finished with an 8-3 record after losing in the first round of the playoffs Nov. 15. Grady will forfeit all games from the 2013 season in which ineligible students participated, and the football program was placed on probation for the 2014 season.

GHSA also fined the school $1,000 for lack of administrative oversight.

When I was attending Grady, there were some 22 high schools in the metropolitan Atlanta area. I believe today they have consolidated down to about 10. The issue here is recruiting players from outside the assigned district area for Grady HS. I do support school choice for the education of our children but not violating rules to favor building athletic powerhouses — there’s probably enough of that in college sports. The real question is, what are parents and coaches teaching our young people? In my two years playing football at Grady, we were 1-19 but we played hard and we were all just fellas from the same ‘hood. But in losing we learned about character and being a team.

The real place to be a winner is and always must be the classroom, but I fear with federally-mandated standards like Common Core, there will be cheating not just on the playing field, but also in the classroom. Oops, I forgot, they already had a major test cheating scandal in Atlanta. What is happening to my hometown? Perhaps you can’t go home after all or maybe we need to restore the ol’ school way?
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