GHSA declares Valdosta transfer quarterback ineligible

Highs school football activities were put on hold as the coronavirus pandemic spread.
Highs school football activities were put on hold as the coronavirus pandemic spread.

Credit: Jason Getz

Credit: Jason Getz

Jake Garcia, the California quarterback whose parents reportedly dissolved their marriage to help him gain immediate eligibility at Valdosta High, was ruled ineligible by the Georgia High School Association, Valdosta coach Rush Propst acknowledged in a text message Tuesday afternoon.

Propst declined to comment further. Valdosta is expected to appeal.

GHSA executive director Robin Hines declined comment Tuesday and did not confirm the ruling.

Garcia, a four-star recruit who committed to Southern Cal, transferred to Valdosta in August and played the Wildcats' first game, a 28-25 victory over Warner Robins. He passed for 332 yards.

The GHSA acknowledged an investigation into the quarterback’s eligibility last week after it was reported by ESPN’s Mark Schlabach that Garcia’s parents dissolved their marriage, with plans to reunite after the season, so that Garcia would be eligible.

GHSA bylaws require that transfer students move “simultaneously with the entire parental unit” into their new school zones to be eligible immediately. Garcia’s father, Randy, moved with Garcia to Georgia while the mother remained in California. The family made the move to Georgia after California decided to postpone its football season until winter.

Garcia did not play in Valdosta’s past two games, a victory over Bainbridge and a loss to Colquitt County.

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