MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The Alabama High School Athletic Association will be at Gulf Shores High School this week to look into possible eligibility violations, as WKRG Sports revealed in an exclusive report last week. It’s not the first time the AHSAA has sent an investigator to probe allegations against the Dolphins’ athletic programs.
In a signed affidavit emailed to WKRG by an attorney representing Gulf Shores High School, Gulf Coast Athletics owner Jason Barnett asserts that he never, personally or through his business, paid rent on behalf of Gulf Shores student-athletes and their families. Barnett also claims that those “same issues” were addressed and resolved through an AHSAA investigation “in or around May 2021.”
Prior to this affidavit by Barnett, WKRG Sports wasn’t aware of any previous probe — so we looked into it.
A letter by the AHSAA, obtained exclusively by WKRG Sports, reveals inaccuracies in the signed affidavit by Barnett. Details of the 2021 investigation of Gulf Shores show the apartment lease and rental payments made by Gulf Coast Athletics came weeks after the state’s ruling.
The letter, dated March 19th, 2021, is the final ruling by the AHSAA for an investigation into alleged recruiting violations involving the Gulf Shores High School football program. Details in the letter do not align with statements from Barnett.
In January of 2021, a current Gulf Shores football player publicly announced plans to transfer from Alexandria High School to Gulf Shores. According to the letter, that athlete withdrew from school on January 22nd, 2021 and began playing in a 7-on-7 league managed by Gulf Coast Athletics and owner Jason Barnett. The football player moved in with a relative who was employed by GCA.
Shortly after, on February 10th, 2021, the AHSAA was notified of potential “recruiting violations” by Gulf Shores. The governing body launched an investigation that concluded on March 19th, 2021– not in May, as Barnett claims.
It’s important to note the state’s 2021 investigation took place nearly a month and a half before the first apartment lease — now at the center of an AHSAA investigation — was signed by Barnett on behalf of Gulf Coast Athletics.
In the investigation, the Association ruled “that there is inconclusive evidence to support recruiting violations by Gulf Shores High School” — another inconsistency from Barnett’s affidavit which says the state was looking into and resolved concerns of rent payments by him for student-athletes.
AHSAA investigators are scheduled to be on the Gulf Shores High School campus this week for a second investigation into the Dolphins’ athletic programs for potential elgibility violations.
The Gulf Shores football team is the top-ranked team in the state for Class 5A. The Dolphins will finish the season Friday against B.C. Rain. The first round of the AHSAA state playoffs begin on November 10th.