GHSA clears Lowndes in spying case

Lowndes’ football program was cleared Tuesday of allegations that its coaching staff was stealing signs in its 17-14 victory over Colquitt County last month, the GHSA announced.

Colquitt County head football coach Rush Propst alleged that an assistant coach that he fired two years ago was using binoculars to watch Colquitt’s sideline and relaying signals to Lowndes’ coaching staff in the press box of a Sept. 28 game.

A video posted online showed Buzz Payne, now part of Thomas County Central’s staff, in front of the visiting press box and watching the game with binoculars. Lowndes coach Randy McPherson denied knowing Payne or using him to intercept signals.

93 comments Add your comment

dagrapevine

October 10th, 2012
11:04 am

buzz payne was officially off of the valdosta coaching staff when valdosta loss in the first round of the play-offs last year.by the time of the grayson/colquitt play-off game he knew he was going back to tcc as a middle school coach.i was wondering how long it would take for someone to try and drag valdosta into this.
who really cared to begin with.

Reeze

October 10th, 2012
11:27 am

Sportsnut……Lovejoy most likely gets to host the loser of the Camden/Lowndes game in round 2 of the playoffs this year . Tucker and Northside was on the other side last year ….No cake walk to the Dome this year…”see you in November” we’ll be watching.

5-Time

October 10th, 2012
11:31 am

The Georgia High School Association and its executive director, Dr. Ralph Swearngin, cleared Tuesday the Lowndes High football team of allegations that its coaching staff stole offensive signals from Colquitt County during a game last month.The Vikings are no longer under investigation.Swearngin informed the Lowndes County School System administration of the GHSA’s decision shortly after lunch on Tuesday.“We received a letter from Dr. Swearngin stating that the GHSA is not taking any action against Lowndes High School,” Lowndes County Superintendent Wes Taylor said in a statement. “In his letter, Dr. Swearngin explained that the GHSA is obligated to investigate complaints from member schools, and he emphasized, ‘I do not believe that the involvement of the GHSA Office should be viewed as an accusation of guilty.’”As Swearngin explained to The Times, there are no rules prohibiting any actions made by the Vikings during their game against Colquitt County on Sept. 28 in Moultrie.“Number one, there is no playing rule that covers this. There is no GHSA by-law that covers this,” Swearngin said. “What would have to happen is, we would have to see verifiable evidence that an ethics violation occurred. We looked at video that was given to us, information given to us by both schools and we finally decided there was nothing in there that would determine an ethics violation was made by Lowndes High School.”The GHSA was investigating whether the Vikings stole Colquitt County’s offensive signals during their 17-14 win over the Packers. The allegations were brought forth by Packers head coach Rush Propst, who accused the Viking coaches of using former Packer and current Thomas County Central middle school coach Buzz Payne to steal signals during the game.Propst said Payne used binoculars to watch Colquitt County’s sideline to determine whether the Packers were preparing to run or pass. He then relayed that information to Lowndes coaches in the press box, according to Propst’s allegations.“There are no rules that prohibit one coach from one school talking to another coach from another school,” Swearngin said.After officially opening his investigation into Lowndes’ actions last week, it took Swearngin and the GHSA less than five days to determine Lowndes head coach Randy McPherson was not guilty of unethical behavior. “We investigated and found no violations to act upon,” said Steve Figueroa, the GHSA’s director of media relations. “As far as we are concerned, the investigation is closed and no action will be taken towards any school involved.”During a phone interview with The Times last week, Propst called McPherson a blatant liar and said that he knew the Vikings cheated in the win.When reached by the Moultrie Observer Tuesday afternoon, Propst said the Packers needed to move on from the decision made by the GHSA.“I’m at peace with it,” Propst told the Observer’s Wayne Grandy. “It’s a non-factor. We need to move on. Right now, my energy and focus has to be on our football team.“All I can control is our football team and the direction it needs to go.”In his statement released to media Tuesday afternoon, Taylor defended his coach and his ethics, saying Lowndes employees are held to high standards.“As employees of the Lowndes County School System, we are held to a high standard,” he said. “In our roles of influence and authority over young people, we are expected to conduct ourselves as positive role models at all times. When we encounter adversity, the manner in which we respond to it reveals our character.”Taylor added: “We are in the business of helping students learn as they grow and mature. We endeavor to prepare our students to be successful and to become productive citizens after graduation. This experience affords us yet another teaching opportunity.”The Vikings (6-0, 2-0, Region 1-AAAAAA) visit crosstown rival Valdosta (3-2, 0-1, Region 1-AAAAAA) in the Winnersville Classic Friday night. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m.

bksmith14

October 10th, 2012
11:38 am

ColquittFan…….you havent been right yet….get over yourself……your coach is on his way out……i do have sources….and very good ones at that…..just so happen my source in colquitt county is on the td club and is good friends with the principal and several board members and his son used to be an offensive linemen at colquitt…who now plays in div 1………thats all i will say to that….

there may be a lowndes fan or 2 who have appologized for me…but most agree with what i got to say and how i stand up for my vikes…..and most certainly agree with me on rush hollwood propst

you just cant beat me in a debate about it bc you have no sources nor facts

5-Time

October 10th, 2012
11:39 am

That waiting line I saw this morning for the “WINNERSVILLE CLASSIC” tickets was looooooong!! I bet it sold out quick….

bksmith14

October 10th, 2012
11:43 am

ColquittFan

“The thing wasnt about stealing signs, it was about a former disgruntled employee that assists other teams when we play them while employed at another school”

just another example of Colquitt Fan catching himself in a lie and at the same time proving me right once again

the quote above is directly from colquittfan, A) he over the last week has been one of the main ones claiming we cheated……B) i all alone have said this was buzz payne doing this on his own trying to get back at rush propst

funny how colquitt fan eats his own words and at the same time just makes me look that much better

Colquitt Fan

October 10th, 2012
12:49 pm

Dude I really think you have mental problems. You make yourself look foolish every single day. You are clown, and a joke on this board. It’s obvious you are a troll, bc you can’t really believe the things you say.

"J"

October 10th, 2012
1:04 pm

@ Hard Hat! I know the blogger who commented on kids “leaving programs because they won’t finish at .500 and transfer to another should sit out a year” have the nerve to make an adverse comment of
“If you’re not cheating… you’re not trying” Please make up your mind!! What side do you truly stand for?

AVikingFan

October 10th, 2012
2:44 pm

Howdy REESE!

AVikingFan

October 10th, 2012
2:45 pm

HaveBinocularsWillTravel

October 10th, 2012
4:09 pm

Who is Colquitt playing this week? I gotta check and see if I can make it.

Colquitt Supporter

October 10th, 2012
4:33 pm

They are off this Friday.

HaveBinocularsWillTravel

October 10th, 2012
5:51 pm

Then that’s 2 out of the last 3 weeks they were off!

Reeze

October 10th, 2012
7:13 pm

AVikingFan ……..How’s it going man

bksmith14

October 10th, 2012
7:35 pm

colquittfan……when you stop being ignorant….we all might start to listen to your post more

Colquitt Fan

October 10th, 2012
7:41 pm

Ok buddy, thanks for the advice. Maybe I can get people to take me seriously like they do you

Been There

October 10th, 2012
7:58 pm

GHSA cleared Probst for recruiting violations and Colquitt fans site that as absolution of any wrong-doings…..but the GHSA cleared Lowndes football and many Colquitt fans are saying GHSA is corrupt, biased, etc……. Irony?

waynester

October 10th, 2012
7:59 pm

As a CCHS alum, watching this from afar, both sides in this argument are partially right and partially wrong. Rush Probst may be the biggest *%$#@ in the state but that doesn’t justify the former Packer coach doing ANYTHING to adversely effect the young men in the program who are busting their butts, just like the Lowndes kids, to win a game…and they are the ultimate victims of this whizzing contest. If ya’ll succeed in running off the Packer coach will that be worth the harm done to everyone else involved in the program? Just because it isn’t illegal, doesn’t mean it’s right. If these coaches hate each other that’s their problem as long as it doesn’t hurt the kids involved. As far as Propst being a role model–that’s a sad joke–Pack fans, don’t make excuses or attempt to explain away the coach’s sorry past behavior–be diligent that history doesn’t repeat itself…and GHSA–ya’ll know this is going on–crack down on this joker with the spyglasses–where there’s smoke there’s fire. Shut this mess down….

bksmith14

October 10th, 2012
9:16 pm

waynester

“Just because it isn’t illegal, doesn’t mean it’s right.”

this is what most people thought about those alabama boys being brought into colquitt who were a year older than eevryone else also…….time to move on …you nor anyone else is going to win this argument

bksmith14

October 10th, 2012
9:17 pm

a lot may not admit it…but most like my post…

of course there are those who dont….but you always goin to have those people

we all need to get off this lowndes and colquitt debate

SouthernGent

October 11th, 2012
8:05 am

At least one person got the point. Propst is an unethical son of a gun and has no business questioning anyone else’s ethics. I just laugh out loud as I read these packer fans trying to justify his stupid actions. I used to think more highly of the packers.

Colquitt Fan

October 11th, 2012
9:00 am

Bk you say we won’t win the argument on the Alabama boys but yet it wasn’t even enough to warrant an investigation but yet you continuously call rush a cheater. At least we had enough evidence to cause an investigation. But yet we have to come on here and defend our coach every week for doing the same thing your coach done which is go complaining to the ghsa. We can certainly move past this but yet we will have to defend our coach weekly

SGAFootball

October 11th, 2012
9:11 am

I don’t think anyone is complaining about Coach Probst going to the GHSA. They are questioning his actions following the game by going on public radio and newspaper and defaming a fellow coach. Had he done this in a professional manner, then he would not have put himself out to be ridiculed. Most people with any common sense understand that you do not publicly degrade others without first going through proper channels. I have NEVER heard the Lowndes coach PUBLICLY degrade ANYONE.

AVikingFan

October 11th, 2012
9:23 am

Waynester — Swearngen said there is no rule against a coach who works for one program assisting another team in one of its games. Region 1-AAAAAA does however have a rule against it in the playoffs only, in games involving a region member.. In his statement to his AD that was forwarded to the GHSA, Buzz Payne stated he worked on his own accord in Colquitt County that night when they met Lowndes, and he would continue to work against Colquitt as long as Probst is the HC, in every game they play “as long as I can.” He’s a fairly young man so he may live long enough to work against them a long, long time. Or until a rule is adopted preventing it. But, if such a rule was passed, schools could not exchange films and scouting reports, so, I don’t think any school would ever vote to adopt that change.

And, Swearngen said if its not against the rules it can’t be considered enethical. He said just because the GHSA investigates a school after it receives a complaint, that doesn’t mean the school being investigated is guilty of any wrong doing. He also said it is the role of the GHSA to consider the source of a complaint. This says to me they may not consider R. Probst reliable.

\What you Colquitt peoplke need to do is address the problems with your HC throwing your principal and school administrators under the bus on your local radio immediaately following the Lowndes game. In my profession, and most, they fire folks immediately for insubordination.Your principal stated to the Lowndes principal after the game that “Probst is crazy and I’m tired of his antics and shenanigans!” Apparently the principal’s hands are tied by B of E members who place football over what’s right. Ask Clayton County what that kind of thing did for them.

But folks, like I said before, it’s time for all of us to move on. Colquittfan and bksmith14 need to “kiss and make up.” (I seriously doubt our HC”s ever will!!!!!) It’s our region against the state, and we should limit squabbles among each other.

Colquitt Fan

October 11th, 2012
9:25 am

The only thing he said about McPherson was the he told a lie about not k owing buzz Payne, which was a lie. And I don’t blame him one bit for being upset about our staff not doing anything about the people on the sidelines, plus in the heat I can’t say I blame him. Let me ask you, if this had happened to your team, not the spying but the former coach helping multiple teams try and beat you, would you not want him called out for being unethical. Dude needs to get over his firing, he’s the real crybaby

HaveBinocularsWillTravel

October 11th, 2012
9:28 am

Well said Viking Fan!

Colquitt Fan

October 11th, 2012
9:30 am

I don’t have a problem w bk, but he’s delusional and ill be danged if I’m gon be called “ignorant” by that dumb moron. Our principal mr jones is a clown himself that tells teachers to do anything possible to pass kids and get his graduation rate up. Nobody cares what he thinks. Like I’ve said before, Propst hasn’t come close to doing anything while at Colquitt

HaveBinocularsWillTravel

October 11th, 2012
9:33 am

ColquittFan, if you think every HC knows every middle school coach in the state you’re as crazy and naive (or immature) as bksmith says you are! Man you are not even on the side of the majority in your own county. Like the man said, MOVE ON!

HaveBinocularsWillTravel

October 11th, 2012
9:37 am

ColquittFan — I know Mr. Jones. I knew him at Lee County. He’s as fine a man as you could want running your high school. Your trouble is you are just as lacking as Propst in judgement and common sense. And like I said above, you are in the minority in your own COUNTY!

Colquitt Fan

October 11th, 2012
9:40 am

What I’ve said is true about him, I was married to a teacher. Whether you know him or not doesn’t matter. Prove me wrong, what has Propst done at Colquitt?

Sideline Observer

October 11th, 2012
9:42 am

Colquittfan – Personal attacks have gotten bloggers banned before on these AJC blogs. Don’t post things too personal. Last year it happened to several posters. Profanity and personal attacks are against their rules. Just saying…….

Sideline Observer

October 11th, 2012
9:46 am

HaveBinocularsWillTravel — Colquittfan, is the key word in your last post “WAS”? If you didn’t hang around a man like Propst so much, and trying to emulate him, you might still be married to that teacher .Nothing personal, just asking.

Colquitt Fan

October 11th, 2012
9:53 am

Lol good one, I wasn’t the crazy one in that situation. Still waiting on what he’s done wrong though while at Colquitt

bksmith14

October 11th, 2012
11:32 am

ColquittFan….is to …ignorant to know the diff between “knowing” of someone…and actually “knowing” someone………..Randy Mac doesnt know caoch payne on a personal level like he does the men on his staff…….he knows of him…the question….that was asked to coach mac was do you know the man in the video? his response was what i or any one else would have said if you try to make out who that is by just watching the video bc you cant make out facial features in that video…….he said he didnt know the man in the video…….bc i believe he didnt have anything to do with payne being at game doin what he was doin……..

show me where he was directly asked if he knew buzz payne colquitt fan??

AVikingFan

October 11th, 2012
2:45 pm

bk, Randy was quoted in OUR newspaper as saying he didn’t know Buzz Payne.

Colquittfan, far as I know the only thing Propst has done wrong at Colquit is being insubordinate to his administrators, as if he is bigger and more important than life. And the way he stays “on the field” during games – against GHSA rules – and the fact that he berates referees and tries to intimidate them into calling Colquitt’s way. Not necessarily the right thing to teach students. He just comes across as an egotistical a-hole. I know I wouldn’t want my sons to play for him.

Colquitt Fan

October 11th, 2012
2:52 pm

That’s your opinion and I certainly respect that. Our kids love him and play hard for him and that’s all that matters. I wouldn’t mind my kid playing for him bc that is Propst’s main concern, the kids. And if they have any skills what so ever, he will get them into college.

And thanks for the support on Randy mc not knowing buzz. Anybody that can read saw it in the newspaper. So really ignorant is trying to cover up something that was plain as day in your own newspaper lol

SGAFootball

October 11th, 2012
4:02 pm

This is what Randy Mac said in regards to “Buzz Payne” as quoted in the Valdosta Daily Times:

“I have seen the video and I have never seen the man in the video,” McPherson said. “He is in no way associated with our program. I even asked my coaches if they could hear him — they couldn’t. I can’t help what some fan does in the stands.”

So, he NEVER said he didn’t know Buzz Payne. I watched the video and there is NO WAY you can tell who the man in the video is unless you know him VERY WELL. I don’t think Coach Mac and Buzz know each other on more than a “hello, how are you” level. Therefore, how has Randy lied???

SGAFootball

October 11th, 2012
4:07 pm

Also, he was never “QUOTED” in the VDT saying he didn’t know Buzz Payne. The VDT said that Randy Mac said he didn’t know Buzz, but it wasn’t in quotation marks and it seems to be referring to his quote regarding not knowing the man in the video. There is a difference between “quoting” someone and “hearsay.”

Colquitt Fan

October 11th, 2012
5:28 pm

Does it really even matter? I’m just responding to the nonsense from above.

AVikingFan

October 11th, 2012
11:48 pm

SGAFootball — Thanks for your comments. When I saw Buzz Payne in Moultrie standing a few feet from me with an Alabama shirt on and binoculars, I honestly thought he was an Alabama scout or recruiter. I mentioned that to my wife. I never heard him verbally trying to communicate with the Lowndes coaches. He was cordial, friendly and very respectful. He even asked if we minded him standing there behind us. I have since learned that two of our assistant coaches know him, as an acquaintance, not on the friendship level. Coach Mac says he doesn’t know him. That’s good enough for me. Coach Mac says we didn’t benefit from Buzz Payne being in Moultrie. That’s good enough for me.

But I DO agree with part of Colquittfan’s last post. “Does it really even matter?” And, will Propst soon wear out his welcome in Moultrie? Yes, I think so! Will Colquitt ever win a state title with Propst as HC? No, I do not think so. Is he a good high school coach? Yes! Could he be a good offensive coordinator on a Division II college team? Yes!

football-legend

October 12th, 2012
12:24 am

i am going to stand on what i said vikingfan……..randy didnt see he didnt know buzz payne…….i know what paper said…we both can agree on one thing…we both pull for the vikings and we both support coach mac…….we all need to move on to another subject

football-legend

October 12th, 2012
12:26 am

the way i take it is randy doesnt know buzz payne personally…more of just knowing of him….get what i am saying…….

youi cant make out who that is by watching the video……..that is a fact…

Colquitt Fan

October 12th, 2012
12:50 pm

Y’all just proved my point, y’all support y’all’s coach and we support ours. But yet we have to defend outs on a weekly basis. Get over Propst, he’s not going anywhere singer used to him. We never bash any one else and even root for our fellow region members. Try returning the favor.

Vikingfan, out of curiosity, why don’t you think Rush can win a title? How can you deny our last three playoff runs? Looks as though Grayson needed a little help from buzz last year too. Conn admitted to using him and barely squeaked it out.