Report: 'Two-A-Days' school accused of fixing football players' grades
By Christopher Rocchio, 06/28/2007
A penalty flag could be on the way for Alabama's Hoover High School, the setting for MTV's Two-A-Days docu-reality series that chronicles the school's football team.
Two teachers at Hoover High have claimed to know of grade changings and other academic improprieties involving former seniors who have also suited-up for the school's Buccaneers football program, The Birmingham News first reported last Friday according to Sports Illustrated. As a result former Northern District of Alabama judge Sam C. Pointer Jr., who served in that capacity for 30 years, will lead an investigation into the allegations as well as other concerns, Sports Illustrated reported.
"I believe they want to get it done quickly and I welcome an investigation," Hoover High football coach Rush Probst told Sports Illustrated. "It's all a lot ado about nothing. Are there minor issues? Yes. It's just that down here, ours are on the front page because of the success we've enjoyed."
The Buc's success on the field was evident long before MTV descended upon Hoover, AL in the fall of 2005 to film the school's football team, as it had won four straight championships prior to the 2006 season, in which it lost the title game last December.
Only 11 days prior to the start of Hoover's spring football practice, Sports Illustrated reported the school's athletic director Jerry Browning called a meeting with the city's superintendent Andy Craig that apparently had nothing to do with how to regain its winning ways and instead dealt with off-field issues.
"I told Andy of things that were to possibly come out. I felt it was not a matter of if but when and I was not going to cover anything up or hide anything," Browning told Sports Illustrated. "There was plenty of smoke and conversations that I had held with others voicing concern about misconduct, but there was nothing earth shattering."
While Browning claims he never intended his discussions with Craig to become public, according to Sports Illustrated, that's exactly what happened when he resigned from his role as Hoover's athletic director on June 18 to take the same position at another school in Montgomery, AL. Browning told Sports Illustrated he decided to leave Hoover "because of professionally philosophical differences and personal reasons as well, a chance to spend more time with my family."
Since then "grade-changing allegations" have begun to emerge, Sports Illustrated reported, most notably from Forrest Quattlebaum -- an 11-year math teacher at Hoover who claimed the final grade he gave one of his football-playing students was changed without his consent to allegedly assist the player in qualifying for college scholarships. In addition, a Hoover assistant superintendent confirmed to Sports Illustrated that another teacher at the high school came to her earlier this year with a concern about "losing a job over another senior football player's grade."
"People came to me with concerns, but I do not know of any grade changing since I did not investigate," Browning told Sports Illustrated. "Whether it was my fault or not, I do not know. Are there truths? Probably so. Hopefully not widespread. When you are on top of the world people are going to be shooting at you and looking for wrongs."
Pointer, who gained notoriety in the early 1970s for ruling on the Jefferson County school desegregation cases, has been granted "full access" to interview those involved, according to Sports Illustrated.
While Pointer investigates, Probst is apparently only concerned about the Xs and Os for the upcoming Hoover football season, which kicks-off against Cincinnati's Colerain High School on September 1 in the Kirk Herbstreit Ohio vs. USA Challenge.
"There's been nothing wrong done by anyone on the football side," Probst told Sports Illustrated. "How could we do anything?"