Legendary Georgia high school football program receives postseason ban, other penalties

VALDOSTA, Ga. — For years and years, Valdosta High School football was considered the “gold standard” in Georgia High School football.

The Wildcats have struggled for the past few years and have faced some turmoil over some coaching changes and off-the field issues.

Now the program is facing penalties for violating Georgia High School Association rules.

“Since there is still an appellate process to run its course, all Dr. Hines is confirming at this time is that the school was fined, more than one player was ruled ineligible, additional games will be forfeited and the team has been banned from postseason play for 2021. No additional comment will be made at this time,” a GHSA spokesperson told Channel 2 Action News.

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Channel 2′s ABC affiliate WTXL-TV obtained a copy of the letter addressed April 8 that was sent to the schools superintendent.

In the letter, the GHSA issued a preliminary list of penalties to the school over charges of recruiting and lack of institutional control from the most recent season.

The charges stem from accusations that head football coach Rush Probst tried to recruit and have the school’s “Touchdown Club” help pay for five highly publicized recruits to play in the south Georgia city.

The Valdosta City School System has filed an appeal which will be heard on April 19. If upheld, here are a list of the Wildcats penalties, according to the letter.

  • Ineligible for the 2021 GHSA Playoffs
  • $1,000 fine for each of the five players who have now been ruled “ineligible”
  • $2,500 fine for lack of institutional control
  • Forfeiture of the teams 7 wins in 2020 in which the “ineligible” players played


The investigation started back in February when a recorded phone call between Probst and then Touchdown Club Chairman Mike Nelson was made public.

In the call, Probst was allegedly heard asking for money to bring in players and to house their families while attending the school.

The highest profile “recruit” was Jake Garcia, a highly rated QB out of California who relocated to Valdosta and was ruled ineligible to play in September by the GHSA, WXTL reported.

Garcia transferred and played last season at Grayson High School and led them to a state title. Garcia signed a letter of intent to play College Football at the University of Miami this past winter.

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