Oakland football put on probation for two years

The TSSAA has put Oakland's football program on two-years probation and fined them $1,000 for a recruiting violation.

Oakland committed a violation regarding Brentwood Academy transfer Jordan James, one of the top-ranked running backs in the country, who transferred to the school and is a projected starter for the Patriots this season.

The probation came due to a tweet by an Oakland Athletic Director Brad Cowan member regarding James, a junior, who had a standout season at Brentwood Academy last season.

According to a letter from the TSSAA Executive Director Bernard Childress to Oakland Principal John Marshall:

"This is in response to our initial inquiry into the alleged violation of Article II, Section 17 (Recruiting Rule) of the TSSAA Bylaws by the Oakland High School football program. According to the information received in our office, Oakland High School Athletic Director Brad Cowan tweeted the following statement about a player who left Brentwood Academy: “Oakland Patriots should be his TOP choice!”

The letter added: "A member of the TSSAA staff contacted and discussed this situation with the Oakland High School administration when the tweet was posted. At that time, we were told that no one at Oakland knew of this student-athlete and he was not coming to Oakland High School. The tweet was deleted and benefit of doubt was given to the school based on those facts. It has now been brought to our attention that the player in question has enrolled at Oakland High School and is working out with the team. This is a completely different scenario and has forced our office to look into it further."

The letter also added:

"After reviewing all of the information, this case is being closed in the following manner:

1. The football program at Oakland High School is being placed on probation for two calendar years, beginning August 23, 2020 through August 23, 2022. In addition, the Oakland High School football program is being fined $1,000. Article V, Section 4(1) of the TSSAA Constitution states:

Probation to an individual sport in an athletic program shall result in a fine of $500.00 annually. During the period of probation, the school may participate in football at all levels including the season-ending playoff series. However, if there are any other violations involving the football program, we will have no choice but to consider further disciplinary action.

2. During the first year of probation, the following sanctions shall apply to the football program:

Year one probation – August 23, 2020 through August 23, 2021:

* Must reduce the number of allowed Fall 2021 scrimmages from 4 to 2. No jamboree participation allowed.

* No conditioning, weightlifting, or practice allowed during the first week of summer practice after the Dead Period (July 12, 2021 through July 17, 2021).

* No 7-on-7 scrimmages or competitions during the first year of probation.

* Spring 2021 practice reduced from 12 days in a 15-day period to 7 days in a 10- day period.

* No Spring scrimmage allowed in 2021.

3. During the second year of probation, the following sanctions shall apply to the football program:

Year two probation – August 24, 2021 through August 24, 2022:

* Must reduce the number of Fall 2022 scrimmages from 4 to 3. No jamboree participation allowed.

* No Spring 2022 scrimmage allowed.

The violations that have occurred could implicate the eligibility at Oakland High School of the student-athlete involved. After meeting with the administration of Oakland High School and the parents of the student athlete involved on August 7, 2020, the determination was made that the post was never seen by the parents and did not influence their decision to put the student at Oakland, He is, therefore, eligible to participate a Oakland High School."

James rushed for 1,100 yards and 18 touchdowns in just nine game in 2019. He has numerous college offers, including from Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Florida State and Penn State.

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