The GHSA on Tuesday banned Milton’s boys basketball program from playing in the 2012-13 high school state tournament after reviewing allegations that coach David Boyd used undue influence to persuade student-athletes to transfer to the school. Boyd resigned on Sept. 10.
GHSA executive director Ralph Swearngin provided his thoughts about the investigation and provided a state of the union, of sorts, for high school sports in the state.
Q: What was your reaction in reading the Fulton Schools investigation?
A: This struck me as taking the college model for getting students to come to a school and putting it at the high school level. There was a nationwide recognition for the quality of coach that Boyd was and the level of the play of his program. People were beating down his door to come play. … By our rules, it’s not necessarily recruiting, but the services being offered we thought were undue influence.
Q: Did the findings surprise you?
A: I was a little surprised that this flourished out in the open and other coaches and other people didn’t call our attention to it earlier.
Q: Does that mean school systems must help the GHSA in policing this?
A: Hopefully this sends message that schools and districts should look at themselves and make sure they conduct themselves the way high school sports are intended to be. If [parents and student-athletes] are in this to find the best school for getting recognition and scholarships, it’s a rather self-centered situation. I don’t think it ought to be that way.
Q: Can the GHSA do more to get a handle on alleged recruiting and undue influence?
A: The one thing that made this significantly different is this is the first time we’ve had so much hard data in terms of printed-out emails. So many times, even when we send private investigators into the field, it boils down to one person said this, another said that. We’re at the mercy of who will talk and give verifiable evidence.
Q: Will the GHSA investigate Milton regarding past players who transferred?
A: We are not now presently involved or anticipating a continuation of any investigation. We’re making a ruling on what we have right now. At this point, I don’t feel it necessary to dig that far because what happened was the school and the school system did an investigation and self-reported. I was commissioned to respond to their self-report.