OUR OPINION: School is about more than sports

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 26, 2007

Things have been getting pretty ugly at Hoover High School recently. The school with a football program that has won five of the last seven Class 6A state championships is being investigated in every way you could think of. They have been looking at anything from grades, player eligibility and finances to the personal life of head coach Rush Propst.

In the wake of the examination, a school administrator has resigned, and Propst could face criminal charges if an ethics review finds evidence he violated financial reporting laws, according to an Associated Press report.

An investigation that was led by a retired federal judge and cost the school system more than $151,000 referred to Hoover football as “big business.” You might think that should only apply to Alabama and Auburn football, but the Associated Press story said the Hoover Bucs probe found whiffs of corruption normally reserved for the big leagues.

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The investigation concluded a few blue-chip football players got preferential treatment in the classroom, with one player improperly being allowed to take a test three times to get a passing grade.

Hoover knowingly played ineligible players in a junior varsity game last year, and an assistant coach went to the practice of a rival school to spy on its workouts.

All of these things were found in the 71-page report by former U.S. District Judge Sam Pointer documenting the problems at Hoover High released this past Saturday.

This is definitely one of the worst scandals high school athletics has ever seen in Alabama and possibly the nation, but many of the things that have been allegedly going on there happen at many other schools also. They just haven’t been on the same level as Hoover.

Sports are important to high schools, but it should not control everything like it did at Hoover. All schools need to look at this situation and learn. Otherwise, we will be paying our high school players to play instead of educating them.