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CHS taking its appeal to next level

Officials head back to SCHSL

Posted: November 1, 2014 1:41 p.m.
Updated: November 3, 2014 1:00 a.m.

Minutes after the executive committee of the South Carolina High School League (SCHSL) upheld Camden High School (CHS) football team’s ban prohibiting the Bulldogs from playing in the 2014 AAA state playoffs, as well as from participating in any 2105 jamboree, Kershaw County School District (KCSD) Superintendent Dr. Frank Morgan said the appeal process will continue.

Thursday, at the SCHSL office in Columbia, Camden’s appeal to the executive committee for the sanctions to be modified was denied. Committee members voted, 10-4, in agreement with the decision made by SCHSL Commissioner Jerome Singleton, announcing the aforementioned sanctions, on Oct. 23.

The district’s legal counsel along with CHS Principal Dan Matthews and CHS Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Jimmy Neal will appear before the SCHSL’s appellate panel today at 10 a.m. at the SCHSL office.

"While we appreciate the difficult role of the executive committee," Morgan said in a KCSD press release late Thursday afternoon, "we disagree with its decision to penalize the entire team for the actions of certain players. We believe there is a provision within the league’s constitution that would allow for a lesser probation where Camden High School would be allowed to participate in the playoffs."

The SCHSL sanctions were imposed following a post-game fracas on Oct. 17 after Camden defeated Dreher High School, 39-30, at Zemp Stadium. Dreher received the same sanctions as a result of the incident, which also involved SCHSL-mandated suspensions for 11 players from Camden and nine from Dreher. In addition, CHS disciplined players who were involved in the fight or who failed to obey authorities according to the Kershaw County School District Code of Student Conduct.

In deciding to make an appeal to the appellate panel, Morgan was hoping that a new set of ears and eyes, to see the video of the incident which was provided as evidence Thursday by the local delegation, will result in a different final outcome.

"I understand the league’s concern and I understand the difficulty of their job," Morgan said in a post-hearing interview Thursday. "We just think that, in this case, all the factors weren’t adequately considered."

As of deadline Friday, Dreher was still undecided as to whether to appeal to the appellate panel of the SCHSL. But should it followed suit, Dreher’s appeal will also be heard today.

The amendment to the SCHSL’s constitution regarding the formation of a SCHSL appellate panel was voted on by the S.C. Athletics Administrators Association at the organization’s meeting in March 2013, approved by a 167-40 vote. The amendment is now Article 4, Section 6 of the SCHSL constitution.

The formation of the appellate panel can be traced to Goose Creek’s removal from 2012 playoffs after a reported clerical error allowed an ineligible player to participate in five games. The school twice appealed to the SCHSL’s Executive Committee and was denied both times.

The Goose Creek debacle resulted in various Lowcountry legislators applying pressure to the SCHSL to make changes. Proposed bills even made their way into the state House and Senate which would have given the S.C. Department of Education authority over high school sports in the Palmetto State. That proposal was never acted on but did lead to the SCHSL making changes, including the implementation of the appellate panel.

According to the SCHSL constitution, "The Appellate Panel shall consist of seven members who shall serve four-year terms. Members are appointed in the following manner: One person appointed by the legislative delegations of each congressional district. Members of the Appellate Panel may not concurrently serve as officers of any League subdivisions, conferences or regions and may not have served as a member of the Executive Committee within the last three years.

"The Appellate Panel shall consist of seven members who shall serve four-year terms. Members are appointed in the following manner: One person appointed by the legislative delegations of each congressional district. Members of the Appellate Panel may not concurrently serve as officers of any League subdivisions, conferences or regions and may not have served as a member of the Executive Committee within the last three years."

 

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