Wednesday, October 24, 2012

NCAA investigators snooping in Pensacola

Remember the curious case of Darius Paige’s transfer to Foley High School? It had calmed down, but it looks like it’s heating up again, according to a story in the Pensacola News-Journal. But in a twist that should come as a disappointment to Alabama rivals’ fans, it’s a look-see into the activities of an LSU booster rather than an Alabama coach accused of orchestrating a shady move:

The Escambia County School District launched an investigation into possible Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) violations by Schellang and Washington High dean and athletic director Troy Faucheaux. That investigation now is complete.

According to documents obtained by the News Journal through the Florida Public Records Act, both Schellang and Faucheaux were issued official letters of reprimand. Both educators continue in their current roles and neither was suspended by the district.

The investigation was launched after Brad Lowery, who is identified in documents as Bud Lowery, contacted the Escambia County School District alleging Faucheaux violated FERPA while posting on the website, using the alias “tigerbait65.”

NCAA rules don’t prevent a coach from a member institution recommending that a student transfer to a particular school for the purposes of attaining academic eligibility. In fact, in both the spirit and the letter of the NCAA by-laws and constitution, Alabama assistant Jeremy Pruitt should be seen as having done Paige a favor.

Had he stayed at his Pensacola high school, it’s unlikely that Paige would have made the grades necessary to enroll at a Division I institution. Because of the academic calendar and structure at his new school, all he has to do is keep his nose to the grindstone.

As long as Pruitt didn’t violate any other NCAA rules in the process of urging the transfer—and there’s no evidence that he did—Alabama did things right.

It’s the LSU fan and the young man’s former high school coach who are under scrutiny and if the NCAA wants to, it could rule “tigerbait65” as a “representative of the athletic interests” of LSU. If they find evidence that he was trying to steer Paige to LSU, look out.

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