Will ‘TitleTown High’ shed new light on Valdosta saga?

On Friday, Aug. 27, 2021, Netflix will debut its reality TV series "TitleTown High", in which cameras followed the Valdosta Wildcats in 2020 during Rush Propst's lone season as football coach.

Credit: Courtesy of Netflix

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On Friday, Aug. 27, 2021, Netflix will debut its reality TV series "TitleTown High", in which cameras followed the Valdosta Wildcats in 2020 during Rush Propst's lone season as football coach.

Credit: Courtesy of Netflix

National audience will see 2020 Wildcats season as portrayed on popular streaming service

Netflix will release a reality TV series, “TitleTown High,” on Friday, after cameras documented Valdosta High’s turbulent 2020 football season that ended with the storied Wildcats program sanctioned by the GHSA and coach Rush Propst fired after one season.

The GHSA’s investigation, which concluded in April, stated that Valdosta had lack of institutional control and was guilty of recruiting violations in the transfer of five players. The GHSA levied a record $7,500 fine on the school, banned the Wildcats from the 2021 postseason and ruled all five transfers ineligible, turning a 7-5 record to 0-12 after forfeits.

The producer of “TitleTown High,” Jason Sciavicco, also produced MTV’s “Two-A-Days,” the reality show that followed Propst at Hoover (Ala.) during the 2006 season. It later was learned that Propst, who had a wife and children, was leading a “double life” with a second family. He left Hoover at the end of the 2007 season after winning five state titles.

Propst then began coaching at Colquitt County and had one of the more successful runs in GHSA history, with two 15-0 state-title seasons, five finals appearances and seven semifinals appearances, posting a 119-35 record in 11 seasons.

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Colquitt County coach Rush Propst cheers on players after a touchdown in the second half against McEachern during the Corky Kell Classic at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018, in Atlanta. Colquitt County won 41-7. (Jason Getz/For the AJC)

Credit: Jason Getz

Colquitt County coach Rush Propst cheers on players after a touchdown in the second half against McEachern during the Corky Kell Classic at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018, in Atlanta. Colquitt County won 41-7.  (Jason Getz/For the AJC)

Credit: Jason Getz

Combined ShapeCaption
Colquitt County coach Rush Propst cheers on players after a touchdown in the second half against McEachern during the Corky Kell Classic at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018, in Atlanta. Colquitt County won 41-7. (Jason Getz/For the AJC)

Credit: Jason Getz

Credit: Jason Getz

Valdosta hoped for similar results when they hired him in April 2020.

Nub Nelson, former director of the Valdosta Touchdown Club, thinks that Valdosta fans tuning into “TitleTown High” to play armchair detective likely will waste their time.

Nelson is responsible for the “Funny Money” recording that played a central role in the GHSA’s investigation into Propst. The recordings, which featured Propst allegedly asking for illegal inducements for his players, provided much of the evidence in the case.

Regardless of what footage comes from “TitleTown High,” there’s no chance the GHSA revisits its investigation into Valdosta.

“The violations are well-documented, and the entire appeal process was exhausted,” GHSA executive director Robin Hines said in email correspondence. “The decision was made from the office, the appellate board and the board of trustees. ... This issue has been investigated, adjudicated and closed.”

Sciavicco said the GHSA never asked for his Valdosta footage.

“I was shocked that we were never once reached out to,” Sciavicco said. “You would think, ‘Hey, these people have 5-7 cameras, over 20 microphones, seven days a week for almost eight months,’ but there was never once one person to reach out us.”

When asked why the GHSA never requested footage from Sciavicco, Hines said, “We had no need to reach out to any producer or show.”

Propst has made few public comments since the Valdosta fallout, citing the advice of his attorneys to stay quiet. But based on Sciavicco’s opinions of Propst and the controversy at Valdosta, “TitleTown High” could be perceived as Propst’s side of the story.

“I’ll stand here today and tell you he’s a good guy,” Sciavicco said of Propst. “As far as the ins and outs about why there were players ruled ineligible, and the fines, stuff like that — I think you’ll see and understand better why there was such an uproar about the lack of evidence.”

Ware County coach Jason Strickland doesn’t think a show should be centered around the controversial Propst, but he understands why.

“Unfortunately, negativity in our society is what sells,” Strickland said via text message.

Nelson, offering a spoiler alert, is confident that any footage of the “Funny Money” conversation that might exist won’t be shown in “TitleTown High.”

“I had my attorney write (Sciavicco) a letter advising him that if he cannot produce a signature where I’ve released any kind of rights outside of the 20-minute interview he paid me for, we’ve got a problem,” Nelson said. “I’m pretty sure (Sciavicco and Propst) are working together on this, so I doubt very seriously you’ll find anything that’s going to further incriminate Rush.”

Sciavicco said the show has a signed waiver from Nelson releasing his rights for the paid interview and other appearances throughout “TitleTown High.”

Meanwhile, the Georgia Professional Standards Committee is conducting its second major investigation into Propst in as many years. In 2019, the GPSC suspended Propst’s teaching certificate for more than a year while investigating allegations of wrongdoing at Colquitt County, where Propst was coaching. Propst regained his certificate and claimed vindication for his firing. Propst expects the same at Valdosta, saying the truth will come out.