Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Erroll B. Davis, Jr., issued a statement Friday announcing steps the district has taken in connection with the Grady High School football fraud case, including the dismissal of several coaches and plans to seek prosecution of parents.
"APS strives to maintain a highly ethical culture; thus, employees who falsified documents or knowingly allowed students to attend out-of-zone schools have suffered consequences," Davis said in the statement. "We must ensure that our sports programs win with integrity and have proper oversight to prevent this from recurring at Grady High School or any of our schools."
APS released the results of an investigation into allegations of address fraud and illegal recruitment by football team earlier this month, which showed that a quarter of the squad used fake addresses to play for the Grey Knights and attend the school this past fall.
In addition to having to forfeit its victories from the 2013 season in games that the ineligible players participated in, the school’s football team will not be allowed to participate in the playoffs next season.
Among personnel changes, the superintendent said that Earthwind C. Moreland, a graduate and former All-City football player of Grady, has been assigned to serve as the interim physical education teacher and football coach.
Full Statement from APS Superintendent Erroll B. Davis, Jr.:
On December 9, we announced that Atlanta Public Schools (APS) was investigating a complaint that alleged address fraud and recruitment of football players at Grady High School. APS has determined that address fraud did occur within the Grady High School football program.
The district has also cooperated with the Georgia High School Association (GHSA), which levied penalties against Grady High School last week.
As a result of the preliminary findings of the APS investigation and the GHSA penalties, we have taken personnel actions ranging from letters of direction to suspensions and reassignments. Several implicated employees have resigned. Additionally, the majority of the lay coaches involved with the Grady football team have been dismissed from the program – one of whom was never properly certified to be a lay coach.
The district plans to move forward with pursuing the prosecution of all parents who falsified documents and seeking tuition payments from families who lived outside of the city of Atlanta.
Grady High School will have a new football coach and a new athletic director for the 2014-15 school year.
The new coach and athletic director at Grady will ensure proper eligibility and compliance with APS, as well as GHSA.
In an effort to meet the continuing academic and athletic needs of the students at Grady, Earthwind C. Moreland has been assigned to serve as the interim physical education teacher and football coach. A graduate and former All-City football player of Grady High School, Moreland has extensive knowledge and experience as a coach.
He previously served as a special teams wide receivers and assistant defensive backs coach for Grady and North Atlanta high schools. He has also served as a defensive coordinator for Westlake High School in Fulton County.
Prior to joining APS, Moreland played football in college, where he received numerous All-American honors and distinctions. He went on to play professional football as a defensive back for the National Football League’s New York Jets and Cleveland Browns. Moreland continued his career in Europe with the NFL Europe’s Rhine Fire before returning to win a Super Bowl championship with the New England Patriots. Moreland culminated his professional career with the Arena Football League’s Georgia Force.
Moreland holds a Bachelor of Science from Georgia Southern University and a Master of Education in physical science from the University of West Georgia. He is certified in Georgia pre-K-12 health and physical educationand has a Georgia Reading Endorsement.
APS strives to maintain a highly ethical culture; thus, employees who falsified documents or knowingly allowed students to attend out-of-zone schools have suffered consequences. We must ensure that our sports programs win with integrity and have proper oversight to prevent this from recurring at Grady High School or any of our schools.
Our expectation is that our athletic directors and coaches will check all player-related information and credentials thoroughly and comply with APS policy and GHSA guidelines. This investigation is ongoing, and additional findings, personnel actions and penalties may follow.