Off-season workout costly to Jackets

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NORTH AUGUSTA --- The North Augusta High boys basketball team has been banned from preseason and postseason play and nine players were ruled ineligible for the 2008-09 season by the South Carolina High School League.

The players, all juniors, participated in what the league termed an illegal off-season workout in the presence of a North Augusta assistant coach, principal Kyle Smith said Friday. He declined to release players' names.

On April 11, the nine Yellow Jackets juniors -- plus two seniors and a Silver Bluff player -- participated in a workout for star forward Bryan Narcisse at Paul Knox Middle, Smith said. The workout was at the request of an assistant coach from Clemson University, which was interested in signing Narcisse after he reneged on his commitment to Western Kentucky on April 8.

"The problem with it is that it's during the off-season and we (North Augusta) also had an assistant coach that was present," Smith said. "While we were doing something to help the kid get a scholarship, we were also violating South Carolina High School League rules."

The league sent a letter to North Augusta High last week informing officials that the workout violated league rules, he said.

The ruling only affects the juniors remaining eligibility. The school also has been fined $500.

Smith said the violation was inadvertent and the school has appealed to the league to get its players reinstated. The players participated to help a friend earn a scholarship, Smith said, and neither the players nor the Jackets coach were aware of a violation.

"I don't think it was any intent to cheat, it was an intent to help a kid," Smith said. "But at the same time, they broke high school league rules."

The team also will argue for reinstatement to pre- and postseason play.

The appeal is expected to be heard in July.

Smith said he hopes the players will be reinstated. The school's fight to overturn the ruling on preseason tournaments and postseason play will be "more difficult," he said.

"We'll abide by the high school league because we respect the high school league, but at the same time we feel like it was an error," he said, adding that the players should not be made to suffer.

Narcisse signed a letter of intent to play for Clemson on April 16. The Jackets had their best season in recent memory (21-5, 10-0 Region 4-AAAA) last season, winning the Region 4-AAAA title and three playoff games before falling in the state quarterfinals.

Reach J. Scott Trubey at (706) 823-3424 or scott.trubey@augustachronicle.com.

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bighomey
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bighomey 04/26/08 - 07:01 am
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To be a reporter Scott, you

To be a reporter Scott, you are not very interested in what's right. Coach's across the country will change jobs at the drop of a hat, and where does that leave the kid. A new coach comes in and the kids does not fit his style of play and he gets rid of the kid in a year. Btyan ask for a release and the new coach gave it to him, so to say he reneged on his commitment is not very fair to this kid.

tonytonytony
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tonytonytony 04/26/08 - 08:12 am
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What is not fair is that nine

What is not fair is that nine students from north augusta might lose their dream of going to college because two dumb coaches. The asst. coach at north augusta should be fired no questions asked. The coach from clemson that set up the whole deal will have nothing done to him. He knew it was wrong that why the slipped into a middle school gym. The familys of the nine kids need to file a lawsuit against clemson for the possible lose of college scolarships. Let the courts decide if the cheating coach and his school hurt the kids. Clemson wont do anything to him. They had two track coaches this week that stole $27,000.00. Did clemson put them in jail, why no. Dock their pay. We teach then to cheat and steal. Funny things go on at clemson anyway, like kids are jumping to the pros in all sports to become instant millionaires. But clemson had a running back that said he was going pro, should have been atleast a late first round pick. which means he would have signed for several million. But he thought about it and decided to come back to school. i know he likes school, but turn down millions.I would. I wonder how much iptay payed him to return. These kids were ripped off. Make clemson pay

junebug
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junebug 04/26/08 - 12:03 pm
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Everyone clearly knew it was

Everyone clearly knew it was a rules violation. Name the coach and players and let the punishment stand.

KSL
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KSL 04/27/08 - 02:05 am
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junebug, I have a hard time

junebug, I have a hard time believing that the nine players, seniors next year would risk a year of playing time. I doubt very much that they knew that rule which they violated. Their assistant coach should have and most certainly the assistant coach from Clemson should have. I don't understand why he couldn't glean the information he needed from game films. Coaches who had never seen players were looking at vcr tapes in the 90's. There is definitely something wrong here, but it's not what the 9 players did.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 04/27/08 - 06:45 am
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Clemson is the culprit in

Clemson is the culprit in this whole matter, but it looks like no one wants to go after them. Reinstate the kids.

TMF Roach
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TMF Roach 04/29/08 - 01:33 am
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First, Clemson is not

First, Clemson is not responsible for this. Their coaches are not and should not be expected to know arcane rules of the SCHSL. If that were the case, they would need to be experts on rules from each state in which they recruit. The rules are those of the South Carolina High School League, not "Rules for Colleges that are in South Carolina." That title description already belongs to the NCAA.

Secondly, most of the kids in question play together in AAU during the offseason. As an "outside entity," it is legal for a high school coach to work with his own school's players in AAU under SCHSL standards. The players certainly thought the session was of no consequence. Furthermore, the coach in question is a JV coach, not a varsity one. The coach has no say as far as the NA varsity is concerned. The premise of "illegal competitive advantage" is not present, as the players don't actually play for that particular coach at the high school.

As for suing the University over possible lost scholarship opportunities, most basketball players are seen and offered scholarships through their travel teams, such as AAU. Notice all the college coaches at the Peach Jam.

Fox Creek player
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Fox Creek player 04/29/08 - 12:21 pm
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Well im one of the nine

Well im one of the nine players that was at the work out and 4 everybody thats on here saying we should be punished 4 the work out u dont know what u talking about. None of us players were aware of the violation.

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