Wilcox on probation for eligibility questions

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 23, 2002

The Wilcox Central High School athletic program has had a bad run of luck lately–the program was slapped with a $300 fine by the AHSAA and lost both its football and basketball coaches within the span of a few months.

The fine was imposed on the school because of a failure to follow proper eligibility procedures. According to reports by the AHSAA, the birth certificate of one student was not on file at the school and several physical exams were not on file in the principal’s office.

“The schools are supposed to keep a certified copy of a birth certificate and a physical form on file for each student,” said AHSAA spokesman Alan Mitchell. “And if that isn’t followed, that’s where the penalties come in.”

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The AHSAA occasionally checks school records in order to ensure that all forms are in order, and that’s how the Wilcox Central discrepancy was discovered. Mitchell said that all forms must be kept on file in order to keep insurance claims satisfied and lawsuits at a minimum.

“If an athlete didn’t have a physical form, then insurance would end up getting involved,” he said. “That’s why the schools have to be complete on all of them.”

Along with the fine of $300, Wilcox Central was also placed on probation. This allows them to get things together before more serious penalties are incurred.

“Basically, probation is a warning that they need to mind their p’s and q’s before there’s a more serious violation,” said Mitchell.

The fine by the AHSAA was a tough enough blow to the Wilcox Central athletic program, but after that, the school lost two coaches: basketball coach Joseph Pettway and football coach John Moton.

Pettway officially left Wilcox Central last week and is returning to Keith High this fall as head basketball coach. He coached the Bears’ junior varsity squad from 1995-98, but he takes over the basketball program now.

Moton left Wilcox Central to coach football in Daleville due to the fact that he and the Wilcox County Board of Education could not reach a salary agreement.