Category Archives: Breaking News

GHSA Releases Statement Explaining John Green’s Disqualification.

The GHSA has released the following statement regarding the disqualification of West Forsyth High School’s John Green from the state cross country meet this past Saturday:
“First, let’s be completely clear that this disqualification had NOTHING to do with what was written on the athlete’s headband. The fact that it was of a religious nature did not enter into the decision whatsoever.

Also, despite published reports to the contrary, the athlete and his coach were informed BEFORE the start of the race that the headband in question was illegal and could not be worn during the race.

After being informed that the headband was illegal, the athlete removed the headband and the meet referee assumed he would run the race without it. However, at some point after that, the coach and the athlete made the decision to ignore the warning and the headband was put back on. Since the athlete then ran the race with apparel that had already been ruled illegal, there was no choice but to issue a disqualification.

Here is the explanation by the meet referee: “I was called to the start line by the clerk concerning the headband. It was a white headband with large black letters written on it. The coach said he could turn it inside-out and make it legal. He did so, and the writing was still very visible. The rule said the item had to be unadorned except for a logo, and this clearly was not the case. I told the coach and the athlete that he could not wear the headband during the competition. The athlete took it off – neither the coach nor the athlete were happy – and I left. When I got back to the finish area, I noticed the athlete had a white headband on. So, when I saw him come down the finish hill, I went inside the finish corral to watch him finish, and he had the same headband on. I told the timer to DQ him, I paged the coach, and told the coach of the disqualification.”

Here are the rules that came into play in making the ruling:

NFHS Rules Book, page 14, Section 4 REFEREE, Article 6. “The referee has the sole authority for ruling on infractions or irregularities not covered within the rules.” The headband was not specifically covered in the rules.

GHSA Cross Country Coaches Handbook, page 3, bullet 7 “Beanies, toboggans, ear covers are permitted if of a single color, unadorned (one logo only).” Since this rule included headwear, the referee included the headband with the other headwear. Therefore, the headband had to be unadorned.

NFHS Rules Book, page 71, top paragraph reads “For wearing of an illegal uniform, when a violation is observed and noted by a meet official, the competitor shall be required to make the uniform legal before becoming eligible for further completion, and shall be issued a warning that a subsequent violation shall result in a disqualification from the event.”

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Equipment Violation ?

The GHSA deemed that a headband worn by a runner at a state championship cross country meet is considered an “equipment violation” and the runner was disqualified.
West Forsyth High School’s John Green was disqualified this past Saturday at the State Championships when the GHSA ruled that his headband which he was an “equipment violation.” The headband contained the bible verse, “Isaiah 40:30” which states “Even youths grow tired and weary. And young men stumble and fall but those who trust the Lord will renew their strength.” Green stated that he had worn that same headband for every race and had never been ruled ineligible until now.
West Forsyth’s head coach, Clayton Tillery, has challenged the GHSA indicating that there is rule regarding a headband as an equipment violation. “The rule simply doesn’t exist,” Tillery said.

GHSA officials said simply that Green was disqualified for an “equipment violation” and would not comment further on the ruling.

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BREAKING NEWS: GHSA caves and allows Wheeler to participate in National Tournament

BREAKING NEWS:  The GHSA today decided that Wheeler High School will be allowed to participated in a National Tournament in Madison Square Gardens in New York.  The GHSA bylaws prohibit teams from participating in National Tournaments after the regular season.

Executive Director of the GHSA, Gary Phillips, consulted with the GHSA board of trustees and decided that the rule which prohibits Wheeler fromWheeler State Champs participating may be in violation of a 2006 Georgia Law and decided to allow Wheeler to participate in the tournanment.  Fans of Wheeler had mounted a huge social media compaign (#LetWheelerIn) to push the GHSA into overturning their bylaws.  It worked. When faced with charges of racism and favoritism the GHSA decided to change it’s decision and allow Wheeler to play in the National event, even though their bylaws prohibit such a tournament.



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Student Ruled Ineligible After Returning to Home Public School

Dec 10, 2014 – Thomaston, Ga –

LiamBBall_HeadshotJunior high school student, Liam Dahlberg, of Lambert High School was denied GHSA basketball eligibility at his appeals hearing yesterday.  Dahlberg attended Lambert in 9th grade but transferred to Greater Atlanta Christian for his sophomore year.  He was ineligible to play varsity basketball that year due to the GHSA transfer rules since his family did not move.  His family stated that they decided to transfer back for his Junior year to his home public school, Lambert High School, due to the extreme difficulty in commuting to Greater Atlanta Christian (GAC).  Lambert is 0.5 miles away from their home, compared to 20 miles for GAC.  The family had lived in the same house for 10 years and Dahlberg attended high school at Lambert for his 9th grade year and was simply returning to this same school for his junior year.  Once again, because of the transfer rules, Dahlberg was initially denied eligibility.   Lambert High School appealed this decision and was granted a hardship hearing.

This first hearing took place on November 11, 2014.  According to the family, they presented their case to the hardship board.  The family stated that the board was understanding of the predicament the family was in when trying to commute 20 miles to school and even refused to accept financial documents from the family, indicating that “they were not needed.” However, the board denied the hardship.  An explanation was never given to the family.

An appeal was filed and another hearing was granted since the board did not accept the family’s documentation.  This appeals hearing occurred on December 9, 2014.  The chairman of the committee, Nathan Turner, is the athletic director of North Forsyth High School –  a school in the same region and rival to Lambert High School.  The family, once again, presented their case to the board.   Dahlberg’s father explained how the excessive driving to GAC was impacting the family and his job.  However the board once again apparently did not find this as a sufficient enough reason to grant eligibility.  The message sent to the family simply said, “Denied.”

The family attempted to reach out to Gary Philips, the GHSA executive director for an explanation but only received the following reply: “Sir…Under GHSA by laws only the member school may seek appeals to Hardship ruling . Parents maynot appeal directly to the association.
Gary Phillips

Because of the ruling, Dahlberg will be ineligible for 2 years of his high school basketball career.


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