Daily Record photo by Gerald Castillo
UIL State Executive Committee hands San Marcos CISD Athletic Director probation, playoff ban on hold
The UIL State Executive Committee handed San Marcos Consolidated ISD Athletic Director and Head Football Coach John Walsh three years of probation for rules violations.
San Marcos CISD employee Earl Anderson was also given three years of probation beginning immediately. Walsh and Anderson were also issued public reprimands.
SMCISD Superintendent Dr. Michael Cardona, Walsh and Anderson met with the UIL State Executive Committee (SEC) on Monday to appeal recommendations made by the District 27-6A Executive Committee (DEC) for alleged recruiting violations, which included a two-year playoff ban for San Marcos High School’s football team. The alleged recruiting violations surround 12 students who transferred to San Marcos High School from several area school districts. Eleven of the students played on the same AAU football team, the Texas Seminoles. In August, the District 27-6A Executive Committee recommended that the student-athletes be ruled ineligible for the 2022-2023 season with a second recommendation to ban the ineligible student-athletes for an additional two years due to allegations of recruiting.
The UIL SEC will hear an appeal by each student-athlete at separate meetings.
Following Monday’s meeting, San Marcos would be eligible for postseason play, however, the UIL SEC reserves the right to revisit possible postseason sanctions following the upcoming eligibility hearings.
“My first thoughts after today is I’m really appreciative of this process that the UIL has in place for an appeal to a DEC decision. I thought the State Executive Committee did a great job of (making) the burden of proof on us,” Walsh said. “I think they let us do that in a very fair setting. I appreciate how they handled it today.”
While the door isn’t completely closed on a postseason ban, SEC members did deliberate on the possibility of delaying the ban for the next two seasons.
“I would say that the attorney is correct when she stated that we have juniors and seniors who are gonna be impacted and they don’t even know these kids … I would think we probably need to wait to make that decision on the postseason ban until after we’ve dealt with the students,” UIL executive director Charles Breithaupt said during the hearing. “Then [we’ll] determine whether the DEC was correct in that … I don’t think these next two years that there should be a postseason ban on juniors and seniors who had nothing to do with this.”
Similar to the mentality San Marcos has held all season, the Rattlers will control what they can control when it comes to the results of the hearing. They’ll operate under the current ruling which leaves them eligible for the 2022-23 UIL playoffs.
“It would’ve been unfair to punish those kids that had nothing to do with anything that was put out there,” Walsh said. “So we’ve got [Schertz] Clemens Friday night and I get to go back to the school and coach for a playoff spot … we’re gonna go to work this week on Clemens and be thankful how our program was treated today.”
When the District 27-6A DEC made its ruling in August, it felt like a cloud hanging over the program and San Marcos has had to work despite of it while playing five football games. Walsh said that the program has had tunnel vision through the first six week of the 2022 season.
“I think our coaches do a great job, (and) our kids do a great job of creating that family atmosphere within our program. We haven’t let the outside noise bother us one bit. Hopefully a little bit of positive noise we’ll let inside our brains and maybe get a little boost…I’ve learned a lot [about the UIL SEC process] in the last 35 days.[I’m] thankful the UIL has this appeal process in place.”
San Marcos is set to play its district opener against Clemens inside Toyota Rattler Stadium in San Marcos at 7:30 p.m.