Team remains eligible for postseason -
Tennessee’s governing body for interscholastic athletics has slapped Mt. Juliet High School’s football program with a two-year probation for recruiting violations.
In a letter dated May 1 to MJHS principal Leigh Anne Rainey, TSSAA Executive Director Bernard Childress went through both the back story of the violations and the sanctions handed down to the Golden Bears.
The football team remains eligible for the playoffs in both years of the probation.
In his letter, Childress indicated a violation was reported to Wilson County Schools on April 17, followed by a second violation reported to the WCS staff the following day.
It seems a student enrolled at Wilson Central was extended personal invitations via a “Remind” phone app to virtual (online) workouts with MJHS football players and to participate in virtual position meetings via text messages between March 26 and April 17.
Screen shots of these messages were provided to Wilson County school staff and to TSSAA staff.
Administrators with Wilson County Schools instructed Mt. Juliet football to remove the students from its contact list.
MJHS head coach Trey Perry complied and indicated there was a second student in the same situation.
Upon further investigation it was determined that Mt. Juliet football had contacted students from other schools via the “Remind” app to participate in virtual workouts and position meetings.
The TSSAA referenced 35 of those were in four area middle schools, 14 were students at Wilson Central and one was in the Barry Tatum (former MAP) Academy.
Administrators at Mt. Juliet High confirmed these invitations were sent to students who they believed at the time were slated to attend MJHS in the fall of 2020.
In addition, MJHS parents and members of the Quarterback Club were advised in a January meeting where and how to request zone exceptions and the specific content that should be included in those requests.
“Any transition period involving high schools is always difficult and this was no exception,” Coach Perry said in a Monday afternoon telephone interview.
“What we were trying to accomplish was to get information during an unprecedented time to young men we had assumed would be zoned for us in the fall.
“This information included fundraising details about our lift-a-thon and work out information — again about getting ready for our lift-a-thon.
“We have since learned that using the ‘Remind’ app the way we did was considered initiation of contact.
“At worst, our program is guilty of a crime of ignorance. I’m confident that the people who surround and know this program understand that we would not knowingly commit a violation of TSSAA bylaws.
“As a program, we understand that the TSSAA has a job to do and at the end of the day their goal is make sure there’s fair play across the board. That’s always been in alignment with our program.”
Perry went on to say he has asked the TSSAA to clarify a couple of specific sanctions and is awaiting a response.
“Wilson County Schools worked in partnership with the TSSAA to resolve an unfortunate situation involving the Mt. Juliet High School football program," said Bart Barker, Public Information Officer for Wilson County Schools, Tuesday afternoon in a prepared statement.
"Our district and the MJHS administration hold all of our programs to the highest of standards. Wilson County Schools and Mt. Juliet High School’s football program have learned valuable lessons through virtual participation processes and look forward to continuous improvement as we move forward to the benefit of our students, faculty, staff, schools and community."
The sanctions are:
Penalties for the first year include: reduction of fall scrimmages from four to two; no jamboree participation; no 7-on-7 scrimmages or competition; the two-week Dead Period will be extended one extra week to July 11, 2020; spring practice in 2021 will be reduced from 12 days to seven with no spring scrimmage.
Penalties for the second year include: the reduction of fall 2021 scrimmages from four to three; no jamboree; no spring 2022 scrimmage.
During the two years, Mt. Juliet football may not hold in-person interest meetings with middle school students and will play fines of $500 per year.
Perry, the head coach of Mt. Juliet since June of 2013, came to Wilson County with his father (Roger Perry) prior to the 2006 season.
He played for his dad at Portland High and went on to play college football at Tennessee Tech.
Trey Perry took over the head coaching reins upon the retirement of his father and has led the Golden Bears to a record of 53-28 in seven seasons — a winning percentage of .654.
County football workouts -
Wilson County’s five public high schools can hold off-season voluntary workouts beginning Tuesday, May 26.
Wilson County Schools have distributed a 16-point plan to all athletic programs detailing suggested procedures on dealing with COVID-19 precautions.
locker rooms are closed;
players must provide their own water bottles;
parents and spectators will not be allowed to attend off-season workouts;
players and coaches will have their temperature monitored and will be asked a series of questions regarding possible exposure;
athletes will be encouraged to wear full finger gloves during weight-training;
athletes will work in groups of 10 or less (including coach and /or trainer) and will stay in this group throughout;
if a group member tests positive, that group will be shut down for 14 days;
coaches will provide alternative activities for athletes who chose not to participate in group work.