VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) - Valdosta High School’s five-star quarterback Jake Garcia has been ruled ineligible by the Georgia High School Association, according to Head Coach Rush Propst.
The first-year Valdosta head coach declined to go into further detail and would not comment on whether or not the school planned to appeal the ruling.
Garcia was only able to play in the season opener for the Wildcats, which was a come-from-behind 28-25 win over Warner Robins.
Garcia was being investigated by the GHSA over circumstances surrounding his move to Georgia from California after the Golden State announced there’d be no fall football season.
Junior quarterback Amari Jones has started the last two games, with Valdosta winning against Bainbridge but losing against rival Colquitt County. Propst said Jones will continue to be the starter.
However, Jones will have to wait until next week to resume the starter role, as this week’s game with Thomas County Central was canceled because the Yellow Jackets were missing a third of their roster due to quarantine.
Propst said there was no enough time to prepare for another opponent.
“We have anywhere from eight to 10 hours off,” Propst said. “Then we are back getting ready. We work 10 hours on Saturday and about 16 hours on Sunday. So 26 hours of hard work for a team to be prepared to play. If you don’t have that kind of preparation, you can’t play a game.”
Valdosta will next take the field in the Winnersville Classic against Lowndes on October 9.
Valdosta City School Superintendent Dr. Todd Cason told WALB as of Wednesday they had yet to officially appeal the ineligibility ruling by the GHSA.
Garcia played week one against Warner Robins.
Head Coach Rush Propst said an apparent lower leg injury has Garcia sidelined since.
Garcia later took to Twitter, asking people to sign a petition to appeal the board’s decision.
Justin Russell, who created this petition, claims, “Even tho the Garcia’s acted within the guidelines of the GHSA and provided all necessary documentation to support Jake’s eligibility compliance, GHSA has succumbed to rival school pressure and ruled Jake ineligible for not making a “bonafide move.” GHSA is refusing to explain how they came to their decision, thereby hindering the Garcia family and Valdosta’s administration’s ability to address their concern(s).”
As of Wednesday evening, the petition had more than 3,350 signatures and climbing.
WALB has also filed open records requests with the school and GHSA to gain more insight into the investigation.