ALBANY — The Albany Herald has learned that Dougherty High School was handed a $1,250 fine for a second violation of Georgia High School Association rules within a year’s time.

The GHSA confirmed the boys basketball program conducted an illegal practice recently, the second major offense in less than a year. Late last year, the Trojans were penalized for allowing ineligible players to compete.

The GHSA also confirmed that it is investigating Monroe High School because of an illegal practice the girls basketball program conducted recently.

“We’ve been apprised of the Monroe situation and we’re waiting on a report from (Dougherty Athletics Director) Johnny Seabrooks,” GHSA Media Relations Director Steve Figueroa said. “Nothing has been done, technically, but we’re investigating the matter.”

Figueroa confirmed that Dougherty was fined.

According to the GHSA Constitution and By-laws, Article 2.69b states: “Illegal practices are defined as practices involving three or more students participating in any extracurricular activity in the presence of, or under the direct or indirect supervision of any coach of the school (including a community coach). At any given point in time, only one (1) coach in a sport may work with up to two (2) athletes in skill-building drills.”

The first day schools can conduct basketball practice this school year is Oct. 27.

Seabrooks said rules are posted on the Georgia High School Association’s website and if something is not clear, help is always available.

“We’re going to be a system that when we break the rules, we’re going to report it,” Seabrooks said. “We’re not going to sweep it under the rug. There are consequences to pay, but we have to play by the rules.”

Dougherty High athletic director Jerome Register confirmed the GHSA report. The violation occurred when a group of Dougherty players were practicing recently and an assistant coach, who wasn’t on the court, was inside another office in the gymnasium.

“We had a misinterpretation of the rules and things happen when you misinterpret the rules,” Register said. “But we’ve gotten those things straightened out.”

Dougherty County Superintendent Butch Mosely was also aware of the incident.

“It happened, but it should not have happened and we’ll have to move on,” Moseley said. “But it better not happen again. I know in my heart and feel like it was innocent on all parts, but there are rules that we all have to abide by regardless of the reasoning.”

A source close to the situation at Monroe stated the allegation happened when some college recruiters from at least two schools wanted some members of the girls team to work out. Several Monroe coaches granted the request, which violated GHSA rules.

Seabrooks said he made a verbal report to the incident to the GHSA earlier this week.

“If a player got that kind of opportunity, it is still wrong to do,” Seabrooks said. “Hopefully, we can hope and pray the kid gets a better opportunity. You can’t blame them for wanting to help out a player, but we’ve got to play by the rules.”

According to the GHSA Constitution and By-laws, schools found guilty of having illegal practices will be subject to penalties that may include a fine, warning, probation, and/or suspension by the GHSA Executive Director. Fines can range from $500 to $2,000.

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