Gatesville

Gatesville, 7-0 on the season, faces questions from the District 13-4A executive committee over whether it used ineligible players this season.

Staff photo — Rod Aydelotte

The District 13-4A Executive Committee will meet on Friday to discuss the eligibility status of six Gatesville student athletes who allegedly violated UIL rules related to performance-enhancing drugs.

The meeting is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. at the Lampasas Independent School District administration building.

This accusation stems from the resignation of a Gatesville coach in July after allegations of giving performance-enhancing drugs to a student, according to the Killeen Daily Herald.

Specifically, the meeting will determine whether Gatesville has violated Section 50 (a)(4) of the UIL Constitution: “failing to comply with applicable state laws regarding extracurricular activities.” This category A violation requires “severe penalty or violations of rules that carry a specific penalty.”

Gatesville ISD Superintendent Eric Penrod said that his school district handled the matter correctly and completely.

“As a district, we sought the proper authorities,” Penrod said. “We sought out the UIL, the (Texas Education Agency) and the (State Board of Educator Certification), which is the certification side of that job for the individual that was responsible for it. We also turned the case over to the authorities, local law enforcement on day one. ... What’s new is there was a team right prior to us playing them that said, ‘I think we need to look into this further.’”

Penrod did not specify which school submitted the complaint against Gatesville. The Hornets are 7-0 on the season and 2-0 in District 13-4A Division I, and play at China Spring on Friday before hosting La Vega on Nov. 3.

Penrod said that Gatesville followed local policy as outlined in the drug testing protocol as recommended by the UIL. According to that policy, “All testing (of students) will be conducted by urinalysis performed by a laboratory certified by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), formerly NIDA. … All students participating in interscholastic athletics will be subject to random testing for illegal drugs. All varsity athletes will have a mandatory test at the beginning of each sport season.”

Penrod was adamant that Gatesville did not play any ineligible players.

“Yeah, they’re all clean,” Penrod said. “Every single one of them was clean before they returned to play.”

Gatesville head football coach and athletic director Kyle Cooper directed all questions to Penrod .

The District Executive Committee is made up of one school administrator from each school in a UIL district. Such committees arrange for game schedules and also administer and enforce the rules and settle disputes within a district. They have original jurisdiction over all eligibility questions within the district.

A school that disagrees with a DEC’s decision can appeal to the UIL State Executive Committee in Austin.

“There was one member of our district, one of the six teams in our district, that actually said, ‘If y’all weren’t good (at football), we wouldn’t be having this meeting,’” Penrod said. “The fact that y’all are good (at football), then we’re having it.

“That’s the wrong driver, in my opinion. We did what we were asked to do in the letter and the spirit of our policies. Why right before district does the district committee bring this up? That’s the question that needs to be answered.

“As you can tell, I’m pretty passionate about it. In my job as a school superintendent is to ensure that our policies are upheld. We did that. Now my job is to protect the kids and the situation. I feel that this is a situation where the DEC goes outside their purview to investigate this.”

Don't Miss...