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GHSA slaps Valdosta High football program with probation, fine after investigation

The Georgia High School Association canceled the remainder of the 2019-20 athletic season on Thursday due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (WJXT)

Scandal-plagued high school football coach Rush Propst and the Valdosta program were slapped with a fine, banned from the playoffs and forced to forfeit seven wins from last year by the Georgia High School Association on Tuesday.

According to multiple reports, the GHSA fined Valdosta $7,500 after an investigation into whether the team used ineligible players. ESPN’s Mark Schlabach reported that Valdosta is expected to appeal the punishment.

The punishment stems after the GHSA explored allegations of Valdosta having ineligible players suit up for the program in 2020.

Audio of Propst discussing payments by Alabama and Georgia to bring in recruits was posted to YouTube in early March, and Propst was subsequently suspended. Propst is heard on the recording saying that he needed “funny money” to help incoming families pay for living expenses. Former Touchdown Club executive director Michael “Nub” Nelson recorded the audio.

Propst was also accused of arranging improper benefits to parents of players to move into Valdosta’s school district.

Prospt’s high school coaching career has been marred by numerous scandals, including at Hoover High, Alabama. An investigation there found out that Propst had secretly supported a second family. He was married at the time. Propst moved on to Colquitt County in Georgia and was fired after another investigation into ethics issues. His teaching certificate was reinstated in 2020 and Propst was hired by Valdosta last year.


About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.