*Updated: Thursday March 23, 7:38 p.m.
The Georgia High School Association (GHSA) confirmed it will be investigating the eligibility of running back Kurt Taylor, a three-year Newton High athlete who transferred to play on the 2016 Class AAAAAAA state championship Grayson football team.
Steve Figueroa, the Director of Media Relations for the GHSA, stated that GHSA will be investigating to see whether or not Taylor, a Michigan signee, was a true resident of Covington or Grayson during the 2016 football season.
“I confirmed with Todd Holcomb of the AJC that we are indeed investigating the situation,” Figueroa said. “And we don’t make any comments on an investigation because we don’t know what it is yet that we’re talking about.”
According to this article that appeared on the Fox 5 Atlanta website Wednesday night, Taylor’s time at Grayson drew the ire of Georgia state senator Bruce Thompson who said Taylor was “mocking the system,” primarily because his immediate transfer back to Newton High in January for his last semester of high school signified that he only was going to Grayson to play football.
Although Taylor signed with Michigan during February’s National Signing Day, the 5-foot-9, 205 pound tailback actually committed to the Wolverines while still playing at Newton, according to this 2015 article by The Covington News.
The Fox 5 News article shows recent tweets and pictures from Taylor’s Twitter account that show Taylor, his father and Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh inside and outside his home in Covington, which the Fox report states was never put up for sale.
If Taylor's transfer to Grayson is found to be in defiance of GHSA rules, it could mean Grayson would be stripped of its 2016 state title. In that case, the championship would not be awarded to Class AAAAAAA runner-up Roswell.
According to section 1.62 of the GHSA's constitution and by-laws, a legit or "bona fide move" is one where the transfer student "moved simultaneously with the entire parental unit or persons he/she resided with at the former school, and the student and parent(s) or persons residing with the student live in the service area of the new school."
It goes on to say that relinquishment of the former residence must take place by either selling it, placing it up for sale through a real estate agent or leaving the house and shutting off unnecessary utilities. The bylaws also state that a bona fide move is validated when the student and family remains at the new residence for one calendar year.
Since Taylor does not play spring sports at Newton, there is no question of any current high school athletic eligibility for him. Therefore, it isn't likely that there will be much urgency in the GHSA's investigation.
The Gwinnett County Public Schools system did issue the following statement regarding Taylor's football eligibility for the 2016 season late Thursday afternoon:
“Grayson High School did receive a letter today notifying the school that GHSA is opening an investigation into a potential violation involving a former student. his student did reside in the Grayson attendance zone and attended Grayson High School during first semester of this school year but has since then transferred to another school.
"Gwinnett County Public Schools cooperated with GHSA and their compliance officer Mr. Wright during the fall when they conducted an investigation and found no violations. “We have serious questions about whether you can retroactively change a student-athlete's status because a family chose to move their student based on what they felt was best for their student academically.”
Taylor was one of a handful of highly touted prospects to move to Grayson before the 2016 season in order to play football.
Included in that group is Jamyest Williams who come over from Archer and eventually signed with South Carolina, Georgia signees DeAngelo Gibbs and Breon Dixon, both of whom transferred from Peachtree Ridge and Tony Gray, formerly of Central Gwinnett. Gray is a four-star offensive tackle who inked with Ole Miss. These were additions to a team that already boasted Clemson quarterback signee Chase Brice.
Several of those athletes, including Brice who transferred to North Oconee High to play baseball, are no longer enrolled at Grayson. Gibbs and Dixon also left Grayson in December to enroll early UGA.
Currently, it doesn't appear the situation would do much to affect Taylor's enrollment to Michigan.
Attempts to reach out to Taylor and Newton football coach Terrance Banks have not been immediately returned.
Stay tuned to www.covnews.com for more developments on this story.