Hoover Athletics Probe Cites Favorable Treatment For Some Players

HOOVER, Ala. (AP) - A report into improprieties at Hoover High School concluded that actions by administrators -- more than football coaches -- created preferential academic treatment for some standout football players.

The report released today says Assistant Principal Carol Martin and Peer Helping Coordinator Terri Borie became so involved in helping one player's academic challenges that they "had in essence lost their objectivity and self-restraint."

The Birmingham News has previously reported that player is Kerry Murphy, who signed with Alabama but did not qualify.

The report, conducted by Birmingham attorney Sam Pointer Junior says that Hoover High athletics has "grown into a big business" and needs tighter administrative controls.

The News summarized Pointer's findings on its Web site today. The entire 68-page report was posted on the Internet at

The report also says football coach Rush Propst's bank account records reflect he has been providing financial support for a second family in the Pell City area.

Pointer's report concludes that the grade change for a football player, identified by The Birmingham News as Josh Chapman, a player at Alabama, was the result of "innocent human error" and was not an effort to inflate his grade.

The report states Borie received a call on her cell on May 30th from Alabama defensive coordinator Kevin Steele, who told Borie he learned the player was "seven one-thousandths" a point below the GPA he needed to be eligible.

Borie said he received the call from Steele because Alabama officials were having trouble reaching Cindy Bond, a college and career specialist.

The report criticizes former Hoover High Principal Richard Bishop for not reporting the use of ineligible junior varsity players to the Alabama High School Athletic Association, even after it was reported by The News.

The report says Propst admitted he was responsible for the ineligible players being in uniform and defended himself by saying it was common for that to occur in JV games,.

The report states, quoting: "The knowing and intentional use of ineligible players is disturbing, as is the fact Propst provided different explanations for how the violation occurred. Perhaps more disturbing is Bishop's decision to disregard his Athletic Director's advice and not report the violation to the AHSAA."

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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