The family of four-star quarterback recruit Jake Garcia took great lengths for him to play high school football this fall. The USC football commit moved cross-country from La Habra High School in California to Valdosta, Ga.
He was not going to be able to play this fall in his native California. The hope, for his family, was that a big move to Georgia would allow him to play at the new school this falla, and compete against top competition in Georgia. Now, it doesn't appear that he'll be given that opportunity.
The GHSA, the governing body that overseas high school football in the state, ruled that Garcia is ineligible to play this fall. He played in the team's season opener, throwing for 332 passing yards and two touchdowns. He sat out the team's second game with a reported injury, but eligibility concerns loomed around the same time.
The decision comes after an ESPN report, that detailed just how far the Garcia family went to make this season in Valdosta happen. Per Mark Schlabach, in order for Garcia to be eligible to play, he had to move "simultaneously with the entire parental unit or persons he/she resided with at the former school." Garcia and his father moved, but his mother stayed in California to keep her job. As a result, they elected to "dissolve their marriage" in order to follow the Georgia eligibility rules, with the intention of getting remarried after.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitutionnoted the GHSA investigation after the ESPN article was released. Now, the organization has rendered its decision, though Valdosta is appealing the decision.
It is a brutal turn of events for Jake Garcia and his family, who went to extreme lengths to try and play high-level high school football this season. It makes sense that Georgia doesn't want a bunch of families from outside the state to use it as a training ground for a year, but given the tough situation that the Garcias were put in, you have to feel for them here.
We'll have more when the appeal is processed.