As many as 20 prep football players may have faked their addresses to play for Atlanta's Grady High, and the Knights' popular coach has been reassigned as a result, Atlanta Public Schools superintendent Erroll Davis said in a news conference on Monday.
Ronnie Millen Sr., who has worked in the school district since 1989 and served as Grady's head coach since 2001, has been removed of his position pending an investigation into an anonymous tip suggesting that as much as one-third of his roster may have falsified documents to play for him, according to multiple reports out of Georgia.
"We depend on the integrity of parents who have an ethical obligation to the district to provide accurate addresses to the district," said Davis, who revealed that multiple players used the same address, adding enough validity to the Nov. 7 anonymous tip to move forward. "However, our commitment to ethics is higher than any individual program."
Meanwhile, the student-athletes face potential suspension from the sport next season or even the loss of scholarships while their parents could be prosecuted if they signed an affidavit swearing to a falsified address, according tot he Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
However, at least one mother told WSB-TV in Atlanta that she has lived in the district for years and threatened to call her own news conference along with several other parents of accused players, even suggesting that a player who left the team prior to Thanksgiving upset about a lack of playing time may have been the anonymous tipster.
The Knights finished 8-3 this season and reached the first round of the playoffs. Grady is the last public school from Atlanta to play in the Georgia Dome as part of the state's final four, which Millen's charges did during a 13-1 state semifinal campaign in 2011.
Naturally, this news returns the prep recruiting conversation to the forefront in Georgia. Last year, LaGrange (Ga.) Troup High coach Charlie Flowers and Snellville (Ga.) Shiloh High coach Brian Montgomery were both fired for separate alleged recruiting allegations.
AJC education columnist Maureen Downey continued the conversation, raising an interesting point about the difference in stigma surrounding a student transferring to a different district for educational rather than athletic reasons. As she noted about false addresses, "I have seen it far more for academics than for sports." After all, better teachers and better coaches can both offer the chance for a better college education.
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