Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

October 10, 2012

Vikings cleared of cheating allegations

VALDOSTA — The Georgia High School Association and its executive director, Dr. Ralph Swearngin, cleared Tuesday the Lowndes High football team of allegations that its coaching staff stole offensive signals from Colquitt County during a game last month.

The Vikings are no longer under investigation.

Swearngin informed the Lowndes County School System administration of the GHSA’s decision shortly after lunch on Tuesday.

“We received a letter from Dr. Swearngin stating that the GHSA is not taking any action against Lowndes High School,” Lowndes County Superintendent Wes Taylor said in a statement. “In his letter, Dr. Swearngin explained that the GHSA is obligated to investigate complaints from member schools, and he emphasized, ‘I do not believe that the involvement of the GHSA Office should be viewed as an accusation of guilty.’”

As Swearngin explained to The Times, there are no rules prohibiting any actions made by the Vikings during their game against Colquitt County on Sept. 28 in Moultrie.

“Number one, there is no playing rule that covers this. There is no GHSA by-law that covers this,” Swearngin said. “What would have to happen is, we would have to see verifiable evidence that an ethics violation occurred. We looked at video that was given to us, information given to us by both schools and we finally decided there was nothing in there that would determine an ethics violation was made by Lowndes High School.”

The GHSA was investigating whether the Vikings stole Colquitt County’s offensive signals during their 17-14 win over the Packers. The allegations were brought forth by Packers head coach Rush Propst, who accused the Viking coaches of using former Packer and current Thomas County Central middle school coach Buzz Payne to steal signals during the game.

Propst said Payne used binoculars to watch Colquitt County’s sideline to determine whether the Packers were preparing to run or pass. He then relayed that information to Lowndes coaches in the press box, according to Propst’s allegations.

“There are no rules that prohibit one coach from one school talking to another coach from another school,” Swearngin said.

After officially opening his investigation into Lowndes’ actions last week, it took Swearngin and the GHSA less than five days to determine Lowndes head coach Randy McPherson was not guilty of unethical behavior.

 “We investigated and found no violations to act upon,” said Steve Figueroa, the GHSA’s director of media relations. “As far as we are concerned, the investigation is closed and no action will be taken towards any school involved.”

During a phone interview with The Times last week, Propst called McPherson a blatant liar and said that he knew the Vikings cheated in the win.

When reached by the Moultrie Observer Tuesday afternoon, Propst said the Packers needed to move on from the decision made by the GHSA.

“I'm at peace with it,” Propst told the Observer’s Wayne Grandy. “It's a non-factor. We need to move on. Right now, my energy and focus has to be on our football team.

“All I can control is our football team and the direction it needs to go.”

In his statement released to media Tuesday afternoon, Taylor defended his coach and his ethics, saying Lowndes employees are held to high standards.

“As employees of the Lowndes County School System, we are held to a high standard,” he said. “In our roles of influence and authority over young people, we are expected to conduct ourselves as positive role models at all times. When we encounter adversity, the manner in which we respond to it reveals our character.”

Taylor added: “We are in the business of helping students learn as they grow and mature. We endeavor to prepare our students to be successful and to become productive citizens after graduation. This experience affords us yet another teaching opportunity.”

The Vikings (6-0, 2-0, Region 1-AAAAAA) visit crosstown rival Valdosta (3-2, 0-1, Region 1-AAAAAA) in the Winnersville Classic Friday night. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m.

Text Only
Local News
  • City: Most overflows stopped

    The City of Valdosta reported Wednesday evening that all manhole overflows resulting from Tuesday’s heavy rains had stopped, with the exception of two.

    April 17, 2014

  • 140416-gov_deal002.jpg Signed into law

    Gov. Nathan Deal went on a signing tour Wednesday across Georgia, flying into the Valdosta Regional Airport to sign three bills into law.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • 2 charged in N.C. kidnapping

    Two more people were charged in the kidnapping of a North Carolina prosecutor’s father, bringing the number to at least eight people who authorities say were involved in the elaborate plot.

    April 17, 2014

  • VSU opens spring senior art show Saturday

    Several graduating art seniors will present their show this weekend at Valdosta State University.

    April 17, 2014

  • 140415-water003.jpg Sewage problems persist

    Early Tuesday morning, Valdosta became saturated when the area received approximately three inches of rain from 4 a.m. to noon. As of 3 p.m. Tuesday, 11 manholes throughout the City of Valdosta have spilled 286,500 gallons of wastewater into local waterways, and this number will continue to rise.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • vsuopera1dido.jpg Operatic Conclusion

    When the curtain lowers this weekend on Valdosta State University Opera’s performance of Henry Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas,” it will not only mark the end of the music group’s season.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • ‘If I Were Mayor’ contest essays

    If I were mayor, I would do all that I possibly can to make the city of Valdosta marvelous, but I cannot do it on my own. Some things in Valdosta I feel it is necessary to focus on would be our literacy rate, unemployment rate, crime history, and our environment.

    April 16, 2014

  • APTOPIX Boston Marath_Stew.jpg Solemn tributes mark Boston Marathon bombing

    Survivors, first responders and relatives of those killed in the Boston Marathon bombing marked the anniversary Tuesday with tributes that combined sorrow over the loss of innocent victims with pride over the city’s resilience in the face of a terror attack.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140414-valdostaboe001 copy.jpg Valdosta Board of Education reviews finances

    Valdosta City Schools Board of Education celebrated many successes Monday night, discussed budget information and heard an announcement of intent from a hopeful charter school.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • dancing with the stars copy.jpg Dancing with Valdosta Stars raises scholarship money

    Valdosta State University Music and Theatre & Dance’s Third Annual Dancing with the Stars of Valdosta presented a fine dance show this past weekend.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

Top News

What you think about school and workplace rules about Facebook friends?

There have to be rules.
No need for rules, just use common sense.
If people want to be friends, what is the big deal?
Nobody uses Facebook anymore.
     View Results