VALDOSTA, Ga. — Valdosta High School's celebrated football team has been forced to forfeit a number of its 2020 wins, and will be barred from the 2021 post season, according to a report that the team was fined in a "funny money" scheme to use ineligible players.
The south Georgia school's coach Rush Propst - who is on administrative leave - was allegedly heard in a phone recording asking a booster for "funny money" to pay for players to relocate and play for the team.
One star quarterback recruit from California, Jake Garcia, did move to Valdosta and play a game for the team before he was ruled ineligible by the GHSA.
ESPN first reported the details of the penalties against Valdosta High and the contents of the recorded phone call. 11Alive confirmed them Tuesday with the GHSA.
The school was fined $7,500 and a number of players have been deemed ineligible for the 2021 season, as well.
According to the ESPN report, the booster said in a court deposition that Propst asked for $2,500 a month to pay for the rent and living expenses for Garcia and his father to move to Valdosta. The deposition said he sought another $850 a month for a player to relocate from the Atlanta area to south Georgia.
ESPN reported that Georgia's educational certification authority, the Professional Standards Commission, has also opened an investigation into the matter.
The Valdosta Wildcats won seven of their 12 games in the 2020 season, all seven of which have now been forfeited. The program is historically one of the strongest in Georgia, with five state titles.