Letter: Former Stanhope coach committed 'academic fraud'

Letter: Former Stanhope coach committed 'academic fraud'

MILLBROOK, AL (WSFA) - Former Stanhope Elmore High School Coach Jeff Foshee allegedly committed academic fraud and the Alabama High School Athletic Association imposed a penalty, according to a letter obtained through an open records request.

The letter reveals Stanhope Elmore High School Principal Dr. Jamey McGowin, in concert with Superintendent Dr. Andre Harrison and the Elmore County Board of Education, self-reported an alleged grade-changing incident to AHSAA.

The allegation centers around former athletic director and football coach Jeff Foshee, who resigned at an emergency-called board of education meeting on June 9.  The letter states:

"According to your information, Coach Jeff Foshee committed academic fraud with the assistance of a special education teacher by providing monetary incentives to the teacher enabling the student-athlete to meet AHSAA academic requirements for the participation in the sport of football."

In June, WSFA 12 News reported allegations of misconduct, involving Foshee and teacher Abby Butler, had been reported to the Alabama State Department of Education. The ALSDE confirmed it was reviewing the allegations, but both of their teaching certificates were valid at the time.  A spokesperson for the ALSDE confirmed Butler had been placed on leave from her post at Stanhope Elmore.

The letter lists two rules violations, including a rule involving "coaches conduct." That rule states:

"A coach or non-faculty coach found guilty of immoral or unsportsmanlike conduct may be disqualified by the Central Board of Control.  Any school using a disqualified coach or non-faculty coach shall be subjected to suspension from the AHSAA."

Another "academic rule" was listed in violation. It involved the number of classes students in 10th, 11th, and 12th grades must pass with a 70 or "C" average.  It states:

"For eligibility purposes, special recitation, extra work, make-up work, tests, review, etc., may not be given for the purpose for making a student eligible."

The letter suggests only one student-athlete's grades were in question and further suggests the student repeated the classes involved in the alleged fraud. There's no word if this student will be eligible to football this fall.

In the letter, AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savaraese commended those involved for self-reporting and allowing the student to retake the classes.  Despite the prompt response described in the letter, Stanhope Elmore was penalized $300 and placed on probation, which is a year-long warning period.

Savaraese stated:

"Because of your immediate action and self-imposed disciplinary sanctions that included the resignation of Coach Jeff Foshee from Stanhope Elmore High School and the student-athlete repeating the classes involved in the fraud, no additional sanctions will be assessed by this Association."

The probationary period will not impact other AHSAA member schools or post-season play.

Foshee maintains his innocence. When reached by phone Tuesday afternoon, Foshee said "there's nothing to it. No comment" and hung up the phone.

Harrison could not comment due to it being a personnel issue.

The board of education unanimously voted to hire Foshee's replacement at an emergency meeting on Thursday.  Mike Dean held his first team meeting on Friday.

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