UPDATE: In an emergency hearing Friday, the State Executive Committee (SEC) overruled the suspension handed down by the 13-4A District Executive Committee earlier in the day and said the six Gatesville High School football players at the center of the testosterone scandal would be eligible to play because nobody involved had been charged with a crime.
Attorney Tiger Hanner, who represented the players, released the following statement to Sports Reporter Jessica Morrey:
"My clients and their families are thrilled by the decision of the State Executive Committee. This has been an incredibly difficult learning lesson. The students are excited to put this chapter behind them and be able to take the field with their teammates tonight."
Six Gatesville High School football players will face disciplinary action after the District 13-4A District Executive Committee, which is comprised of local superintendents, met in Lampasas Friday and found the student athletes had violated Section 50(a)(4) of the University Interscholastic League (UIL) Constitution and Contest Rules by injecting testosterone to improve their performance on the field.
By a vote of 3-1, the DEC suspended all six players from all extracurricular activities for 30 days.
Gatesville's Superintendent Eric Penrod was not allowed to vote, nor was Burnet CISD Superintendent Keith McBurnet, who lodged the original complaint.
During Friday's hearing, McBurnett said the students admitted to injecting testosterone. Based on testimony at the hearing, the players were not tested until 33 days after they confessed, Channel 6 Sports Reporter Jessica Morrey said. Lampasas ISD Superintendent Chane Rascoe said that would have been after the half-life of any testable drug. As Gatesville ISD has previously confirmed, the students never tested positive.
During the hearing, Rascoe read several claims aloud, and Gatesville ISD confirmed the statements were true. Those claims included that the majority of the six students received multiple injections at a cost of $100 per injection. Gatesville Police obtained a vial that was labeled testosterone, as part of the evidence they have gathered as part of their separate criminal investigation of the parent accused of helping to inject the testosterone.
A varsity football assistant coach was fired in July after the incident was first reported on July 17. Both that coach and a parent admitted to providing the six students with the testosterone and are now under criminal investigation by the Gatesville Police Department, according to the committee.
The Gatesville Police Department confirmed it had referred the case to the Coryell County District Attorney's Office for review. Although no criminal charges had been filed as of early Friday afternoon, anyone found to have supplied testosterone in this manner could hypothetically face a charge of delivery of a controlled substance, which is a state jail felony, according to police.
The six football players were originally suspended for 28 days beginning on July 27, causing them to miss a scrimmage against Glen Rose High School. That first suspension included mandatory drug counseling and drug testing, according to Gatesville ISD Superintendent Eric Penrod. But, the students were still allowed to practice and participate on the team for the entire season, which included all regular season games.
Gatesville's Varsity Football Team was undefeated, as of Friday afternoon. The committee did not have the power to vacate any of the team's wins -- only to punish the players involved.
In a particularly interesting caveat, Gatesville's Basketball District 17-4A can overturn the ruling for the basketball season, according to Channel 6 Sports Reporter Kurtis Quillin.
The students, who were not at the meeting in person, have already filed an appeal of their punishment to the State Executive Committee (SEC), which has called an emergency hearing at 3:30 p.m. in Georgetown over the matter. If the UIL were to reverse the DEC decision, the players would be eligible to play Friday night at China Spring.