Connect with us

Featured

Why isn’t Jaye Gant playing for Grovetown in 2021?

Jaye Gant is a 6’7 senior hooper at Grovetown High School. He is in good academic standing and is on track to graduate in the Spring. He plays well enough to be offered a spot on at least one college’s roster. So why isn’t he playing for Grovetown to finish this year?

Published

on

Some of the links in our posts are "affiliate links". We may receive commissions for any purchases made through those links. Read our full affiliate disclosure to learn more.

The facts in the story below were gleaned from hours of conversation with Jaye Gant’s frustrated father, Marlo, as well as others familiar with Gant’s ineligibility case. Also, the references to Javaris Harris’s situation were informed by the many social media posts by his mother, which included her account, as well as copies of letters from the GHSA. The opinions expressed are mine, of course.

Jaye Gant is a senior at Grovetown High School. He is in good academic standing and is on track to graduate in the Spring. He is 6’7” tall, and plays basketball. He plays well enough to be offered a spot on at least one college’s roster beginning next Winter. I suspect more than one coach has made, or soon will make, a similar offer to him. Jaye played for Grovetown’s basketball team as a junior and during the November and December games during this season.

In early January, he was made aware that he would not be eligible to participate in the 2021 portion of the team’s schedule. The Georgia High School Association’s ruling was that Gant had completed four classes in the first semester instead of the five athletes must pass to maintain their eligibility. Why did Jaye complete only four classes?

The answer is because the chaos that COVID-19 has wrought on society in general also caused Jaye and the well-meaning adults at Grovetown High School to make an honest mistake, the kind that has no adverse effect on anything or anybody. No harm, no foul. That kind. And when they realized they had made a mistake, they told the officials at the Georgia High School Association that they take full responsibility, that they would do everything in their power to make things right, whether that be to pay fines, to make up coursework or anything else, as long as Jaye would be able to play again upon their appeal that was heard Tuesday after Gant had already sat out of six games while he awaited his chance to plead his case.

The GHSA denied the appeal. I was told by Jaye’s father, who drove three hours to help make Jaye’s case and rented a hotel room to stay the night before the appeal, that the Association gave no explanation for their denial. Before the formal appeal was made, I was told by somebody else who is knowledgeable about the matter that a GHSA official told a Grovetown employee something to the effect that the school officials’ ignorance of the rules is not an excuse for Gant not being held accountable for following said rules.

But the root cause in this situation was not that Grovetown’s officials didn’t know the rules, or that they didn’t try to follow them. The root cause was that Jaye’s course schedule went from five classes to four after Jaye elected to change from in person learning to learn from home roughly ten days into the first semester. You know, because of the pandemic? The once in a century catastrophe that has visited us and turned our world upside down. 

Leather Head Banner

When Jaye transitioned to remote learning, his guidance counselor lightened his load from five to four classes, dropping a PE course, because he only needed four classes to graduate. The guidance counselor didn’t consider his athletic eligibility when the change was made. Honest mistake.

Then in late November when the athletic department certified with the GHSA that all of the basketball players on the roster, including Jaye, were eligible, that certification was made because Grovetown High’s computer system showed Jaye was still enrolled in the PE class. That makes two honest mistakes. 

Those errors, which were made because school officials were attempting to accommodate hundreds of at-home learners, while at the same time trying to conduct in-person learning with thousands more students, all while trying to maintain a safe and nurturing environment, should have been forgiven upon their revelation. And if not then, surely on the date the appeal was made. That would be the response if the ruling body were an individual, or a group of individuals, whose purpose was to weigh facts and make careful, but fair and just decisions that consider the humans involved, whether or not they had ill intent, and whether or not their infractions had visited any negative consequences on any other human being or institution.

Jaye Gant not completing a PE course that he didn’t need to graduate because the people who advised him and vouched for him are not accustomed to flawlessly managing pandemic style hybrid learning models does not harm Jaye or anybody else. And the situation visits no injustice on any other team or school. And it sets no precedent for whether forgiving such a victimless error will compromise the integrity of the Georgia High School Association or its rules in the future.

The GHSA is a bureaucracy, the kind that, during instances like this, earns its reputation as a cold, impersonal body with no redeeming purpose. Earlier this year the GHSA determined that Javaris Harris, a freshman football player at Laney High School, attended Laney because he wanted to play football there (go figure!) and that Laney’s acting head coach wanted Javaris to play football there.

Javaris Harris during his 8th grade football season at Pine Hill Middle School

Leather Head Banner

Javaris’ mother followed the rules in place to ensure that Javaris could attend Laney and play football. But the GHSA determined that a nebulous rule that states that a player is in violation if he attends a school after a coach has had “undue influence” over his decision, justified the Association’s decision to end Laney’s season before their playoff run was allowed to start and, unbelievably, to remove Harris from athletic competition for twelve months. The evidence of the supposed “undue influence” that Javaris’s mother has shared with the public is laughable, and the GHSA should be ashamed of their bullying of both Javaris and Jaye.


Often in life, we are reminded that there is nothing that can change the fact that a nameless, faceless bureaucracy will abuse a real-life human being without so much as a second thought, any genuine reconsideration, and surely not an apology, even when all of the adults involved have the easiest “excuse” in the world to do the right thing. (You know, like the pandemic!) In Gant’s case, the root cause of the technicality that has caused the letter of the law to dictate that Jaye be ruled ineligible is simply that the chaos of the pandemic caused him to unknowingly be placed in such a predicament.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Mark Bradley Jennings

    January 19, 2021 at 11:06 PM

    Great writing. Absolutely ridiculous abuse of a zero tolerance policy. My heart breaks for this kid.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Featured

[Livestream] Grovetown vs Evans in Region Battle for Playoff Position

Evans hosts Grovetown and looks to avenge their buzzer beater loss to the Warriors on January 22nd.

Published

on

Some of the links in our posts are "affiliate links". We may receive commissions for any purchases made through those links. Read our full affiliate disclosure to learn more.


“Sophomore Malik Ferguson picked up a loose ball in the middle of the paint with one second remaining, and right before the fourth quarter buzzer sounded, he released a shot that found its mark to give Grovetown 61-60 win over Evans Friday, a result that threw the top spot in the class 6A, region 5 standings into a three way tie between Grovetown, Evans and Heritage to mark the beginning of the stretch run for the league’s regular season championship. Ferguson’s shot came at the end of a full court dash by Grovetown after head coach Darren Douglas was able to draw up a play during a timeout that was meant to result in a bucket in only six seconds. The play was designed for senior Zach Bell, who eventually fumbled the ball after spinning between defenders at the end of a drive that began near half court after he gathered the ball from freshman Derrion Reid.”

That was Chad Cook’s rundown of the instant classic that these two teams played two weeks ago. That win by Grovetown sets up a must-win scenario for Evans as they look to maintain their footing in the race for a region championship.

Be sure to get your ? ready early because if tonight’s game is as exciting as the last one, you just might forget those jokers altogether!

Leather Head Banner

Streams will be posted here. Tip-off times are as follows:
Girls – 6:30 PM
Boys – 8:00 PM

Leather Head Banner

Continue Reading

Featured

[Full Game] Evans vs. Alcovy

Evans takes on Alcovy in a crucial game with big playoff implications. Evans enters the game in a three-way tie for first place in the region.

Published

on

Some of the links in our posts are "affiliate links". We may receive commissions for any purchases made through those links. Read our full affiliate disclosure to learn more.
Leather Head Banner

Leather Head Banner
Continue Reading

Advertisement

Facebook

Advertisement

Read More

E-Sports8 months ago

If You Build It, They Will Come: The Mysteries of Viral YouTube and the NBA 2K Franchise

This is a simple story about two universal mysteries that fatefully converged on a YouTube video created by our friend...

Entertainment8 months ago

[Livestream] Evans Hosts Effingham Co. in State Playoff Showdown

Evans battles Effingham in Round 1 of the Georgia 6A State Playoffs. Live from Evans High.

Featured9 months ago

[Livestream] Grovetown vs Evans in Region Battle for Playoff Position

Evans hosts Grovetown and looks to avenge their buzzer beater loss to the Warriors on January 22nd.

Featured9 months ago

[Full Game] Evans vs. Alcovy

Evans takes on Alcovy in a crucial game with big playoff implications. Evans enters the game in a three-way tie...

Business9 months ago

Former Basketball Stars Lead the Way in Business, Community Service, and Artistic Pursuits

Harold Doby, Reggie Middleton and Roman Hill have turned a brand into a business, a lifestyle and a mental framework...

Featured9 months ago

[Full Game] Warren County vs. Hancock Central

An instant classic from Warren County as the Devils battle the bulldogs to a last second finish.

Featured9 months ago

Why isn’t Jaye Gant playing for Grovetown in 2021?

Jaye Gant is a 6'7 senior hooper at Grovetown High School. He is in good academic standing and is on...

High School9 months ago

[Full Game] Greenbrier Boys & Girls Win Shootouts vs Loganville

Greenbrier squares off against the Loganville Red Devils. Live from Greenbrier High School.

Advertisement Leather Head Banner

Tags

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.

You're clicking a lot... You may as well join. 🎟