The Virginia High School League, Thursday, denied an appeal by Pulaski County School System officials for offseason violations filed against the football program. The vote was unanimous.
The violations, which were for out-of-season practices, included a $200 fine and other disciplinary action deemed appropriate by members of the district committee or VHSL Executive Director Ken Tilley.
Those disciplinary actions included limiting the football program to 15 practices until the first game of the upcoming season; and one year of probation, which eliminates district, region and state championship competition, as well as sanction events, such as jamborees. A warning was also handed down to the football program for one year.
“It is unfortunate whenever there are adverse consequences such as in this case, but we are confident that the Pulaski County administration, coaches, players and fans will respond in a way that will reflect positively on their entire school community,” said Tilley in a press release written by the VHSL.
The Pulaski County School System also released a statement regarding the decision: “While we are very disappointed with today’s ruling by the VHSL’s Executive Subcommittee we are committed to moving forward in a positive direction that is the trademark of Pulaski County High School athletics."
Activities Director Mark Hanks, PCHS Principal Rod Reedy, and new Pulaski County Superintendent Bob Becker met with officials in Charlottesville on Thursday to appeal the penalties initially handed out by the VHSL.
The VHSL press release addresses the appeal filed by the school system: "Pulaski County appealed the probation penalty, and a hearing was conducted Thursday morning, July 1, 2010. As in every case that comes before the VHSL Executive Subcommittee, the appeal by Pulaski County was reviewed based upon its own merits in accordance with a thorough and structured process. After reviewing all information presented, as well as testimony from school administrators and League staff, the subcommittee voted 5-0 to deny the school’s request for waiver of probation."
It went on to say that "all facts presented were carefully considered by the appeals subcommittee. After deliberation, the subcommittee arrived at a decision that it deemed fair and equitable under the rules and procedures of the League. Those rules are designed to serve and protect the best interests of all member schools and student participants."
In addition to the $200 fine, the VHSL subcommittee handed down an extra $800 fine Thursday and also mandated that both Reedy and Hanks meet with coaches every year to go over the VHSL rules and regulations, coaching ethics and integrity. This overview of rules and regulations is mandated for the next three years.
Tilley explained the reason for the additional sanctions in a written statement.
"The subcommittee imposed the additional sanctions citing the blatant, egregious, flagrant nature of the offense and lack of institutional oversight and control. This was no minor infraction,” said Tilley. “The nature and circumstances of the activities went far beyond what is permitted under VHSL rules. Extensive coaching and sport specific instruction were prevalent.”