GULF SHORES, Ala. (WKRG) — The Alabama High School Athletic Association’s investigation into the Gulf Shores football program will continue into week one of the state playoffs.
In a text message to WKRG Sports on Friday, Gulf Shores Superintendent Matt Akin said the school has not received a ruling from the AHSAA.
Attorney Nash Campbell, who represents Gulf Shores, said in a statement to WKRG that one decision had been made by the AHSAA:
“As of today, the AHSAA has not made a ruling against Gulf Shores or any of its student athletes at this time. We were notified today that one Gulf Shores athlete being reviewed by the AHSAA is allowed to play in this evening’s game. We will continue to cooperate with the AHSAA and their staff in any ongoing investigations.”
Gulf Shores, the Class 5A No. 1 ranked team, hosts B.C. Rain in its regular season finale Friday night. The undefeated Dolphins already clinched the 5A Region 1 title and are set to host Beauregard in the first round of the playoffs next week. Representatives for 5A Region 1 include: Gulf Shores, Faith Academy, B.C. Rain and UMS-Wright.
As WKRG Sports first reported, AHSAA investigators have been on the Gulf Shores High School campus this week after the school was turned into the state regarding possible eligibility violations. There is no set timeline for how long the investigation process will take.
Following the final games of the regular season Friday, representatives from each playoff team statewide will meet in Montgomery on Saturday morning, ahead of postseason play.
This is a developing story. News 5 will provide updates as more information becomes available.
AHSAA investigates the Dolphins
This week, the AHSAA investigated the Dolphins football team after an AHSAA member school turned them into the state’s governing body, asserting potential eligibility violations.
Several Dolphins players, along with their families, were questioned during the probe that began Tuesday.
At the center of the investigation, among other evidence sent to the state, is an apartment lease contract for a student-athlete and their family.
Gulf Coast Athletics is listed on the lease as the party responsible for making rent payments. News 5 gathered court documents and several interviews that revealed GCA paid monthly rent for apartments where at least four GSHS student-athletes and their families lived.
GCA quit making rent payments at One Club Apartments and was sued for more than $20,000, according to the documents.
The company is named in three lawsuits filed by 100 Emerald Green, LLC, the apartment complex’s owner.
Inaccuracies in affidavit
Last week, attorney Nash Campbell, emailed WKRG a signed affidavit by Gulf Coast Athletics owner Jason Barnett.
In it, he asserts that he never, personally or through his business, paid rent on behalf of Gulf Shores student-athletes and their families.
Barnett also said those “same issues” were addressed and resolved through an AHSAA investigation “in or around May 2021.”
However, a letter by the AHSAA, obtained exclusively by WKRG Sports, revealed inaccuracies in Barnett’s affidavit.
The state’s 2021 investigation took place nearly a month and a half before Barnett, on behalf of Gulf Coast Athletics, signed the first apartment lease — now at the center of an AHSAA investigation.
In addition, the AHSAA ruled “that there is inconclusive evidence to support recruiting violations by Gulf Shores High School” — another inconsistency from Barnett’s affidavit, which said the state resolved concerns about rent payments.
Cease and desist
On Oct. 27, Campbell, in a letter, said our reporting is “inaccurate” and demanded that News 5 Sports stop reporting on this story.
The letter also said, “Gulf Shores City Schools is fully cooperating with the AHSAA and assisting the Association as needed in its inquiry.”
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