VALDOSTA –– The Georgia High School Association has made its decision.
Valdosta High quarterback Jake Garcia was declared ineligible Tuesday, GHSA Executive Director Dr. Robin Hines confirmed in a phone interview with The Valdosta Daily Times. Hines declined any further comment.
Garcia, a transfer student from La Habra High School in California, played in Valdosta's season opener against Warner Robins –– helping guide the Wildcats to a 28-25 victory. The senior quarterback threw for 332 yards and two touchdowns in his debut.
However, Garcia has missed the team's last two games with a hamstring injury.
According to Valdosta head coach Rush Propst, Garcia was originally declared eligible by the GHSA on Aug. 19 –– 16 days before the 'Cats opener against the Demons.
"They ruled him eligible," Propst said during his coach's show Tuesday evening. "So, there's two letters that are two different things – one letter on Sept. 18 saying there's an investigation based upon a comment that the mother made on ESPN about a legal separation and then the letter we got (Tuesday) talks about the bonafide move situation. I'm not sure which it is.
"Obviously, we'd like to know because we feel like our administration – our A.D., our athletic secretary, our principal, our superintendent, everybody – did everything possible to make this right. When you move into the community, all principal members of the family have to move, which that happened."
Propst alleges that Garcia's parents, Randy and Yvonne, leased an apartment and put their home up for lease five days after moving with their son to Valdosta. According to Propst, Yvonne stayed back in California to get the house leased.
"For us, they're here," Propst said. "They're living in our district. They relinquished their house in California. We've got documentation. We've sent it to the GHSA. So we feel like the young man's eligible, regardless of what the mother says on TV – that's a non-issue.
"There's so much of this going on in this state. Here's what needs to be said: California, along with other states, decided not to play high school football. This kid is committed to USC. He will enroll in a university in January, so the kid was trying to move somewhere to get reps and to be ready to go and he wanted to come into a place where the offense matched where he was going."
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.
Senior reporter Terry Richards contributed to this article.