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Cameron Smith

Star QB's eligibility raises questions for top football program

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

Daxx Garman is slated to be the starting quarterback for one of the most successful and high-profile programs in the country: Southlake Carroll in Texas. There's just one problem: Garman, who has committed to Arizona, may not be eligible to play for Southlake Carroll at all.

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Garman's family moved to Texas from neighboring Oklahoma for the 2010 spring semester somewhat suspiciously, after the quarterback was ruled ineligible late in the Jones (Okla.) High season, leading to the forfeiture of six games.

Garman lived in Choctaw, had transferred to Carl Albert with a hardship waiver and then moved to Jones without another waiver, although the OSSAA's rules stated he needed one. That waiver, applied for retroactively, was eventually denied, but had Garman met one of the criteria for a waiver, he could've been granted one.

Now, with Garman readying to start his senior season in Texas, Dallas-Fort Worth station WFAA aired an investigative report into Garman's eligibility which found, among other things, that his family was still connected to a house in Oklahoma, and that his father still lives in Oklahoma (it's worth noting that it did also determine that the family does technically reside within the Carroll ISD residential limits).

According to Dallas Morning News reporter Brandon George, those near the program are confident Garman will be cleared when the District 7-5A Executive Committee, which governs eligibility and competition issues for Carroll's district, meets on Friday to debate the quarterback's situation.

Still, it's a wonder that a storied program like Southlake would even risk reaching out to bring in a player with serious eligibility issues at their highest profile position. As the Dallas Morning News's Matt Wixon points out, Garman's brush on the wrong side of eligibility last fall was practically fated. He didn't just transfer once to a better athletic school, he transferred twice, using up a designated hardship waiver to play for a school outside his jurisdiction to land at Carl Albert, where he played as a freshman and sophomore.

Southlake Carroll has won a whopping seven state title in the past 20 years, putting together more than 50 straight wins during one stretch. Sure, the 2010 Dragons may be one of the school's youngest incarnations; they return just two starters from their 2009 squad that went 11-2 en route to a Class 5A Region I semifinal berth. But did they really need to bring in a quarterback who was not just new to the school, but new to the district, and even the state?

It's a question worth asking, even if it is likely to get swept under the rug if Garman is ruled eligible to play in Friday night's season opener against Copperas Cove. The distraction alone caused bythe WFAA report can only have take away from the Southlake's final preseason thrust. Only time will tell if that was just the beginning of the team's -- and Garman's -- struggles.

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