VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - WALB is learning more about why Georgia High School Association (GHSA) said they ruled Valdosta High School Quarterback Jake Garcia ineligible to play.
Update, Oct. 7: Wednesday morning, GHSA ruled Garcia ineligible again. Valdosta High School resubmitted his eligibility with newer documents.
Namely, court documents to prove Garcia’s parents legally separated.
In those same documents, it states Jake’s father has “physical custody” of him.
This should mean the Garcias' fulfilled the “bonafide move” requirement.
The investigation into the Garcias' move to Valdosta started mid-September, after someone emailed a complaint to GHSA.
That move is at the center of this investigation.
Two days later, they ruled him ineligible.
The Cats have appealed the ruling to forfeit their win against Warner Robins.
The earliest that will be reviewed is at the next GHSA meeting on October 20.
Update, Oct. 5: On Monday, Valdosta City Schools Superintendent Todd Cason said Valdosta High has appealed GHSA’s ruling for Valdosta High to forfeit its game against Warner Robins.
Garcia’s eligibility decision was not appealed.
GHSA said they must forfeit because Garcia has been ruled ineligible to play, and Garcia played in that game.
In documents obtained through open records requests, the GHSA agrees to VHS' claim that they were unaware of this prior to the investigation.
Valdosta was formally notified of this following their game against Warner Robins, which is also the only game Garcia has played in.
According to GHSA, Garcia gained eligibility to transfer to Valdosta from California, using false information.
VHS officials have since suspended Garcia from the team after receiving that letter from the GHSA.
GHSA reports Garcia’s parents separated to meet the Georgia residence rules, with plans of reuniting at the end of the football season.
Later in the school’s response, they state, “We have never tried to circumvent the rules of our governing body for interscholastic sports.”
The GHSA said a student must make a “bona fide move,” meaning the student is to move simultaneously with the entire parental unit.
They said that’s not the case with the Garcia’s.
The USC commit transferred after California decided to not have fall 2020 sports due to the pandemic.
VHS has until Monday to appeal this ruling.
As of Thursday, they have yet to file an appeal.