South Florida Sun Sentinel | By Adam Lichtenstein | September 7, 2021
Glades Central football coach Rashad Jackson will have to wait to get back onto the Raiders’ sideline.
Jackson has served three games of a six-game suspension for providing an impermissible benefit to quarterback Garrison Kepley. On Tuesday, the Florida High School Athletic Association Infractions Appeals Committee unanimously denied Jackson’s appeal of his suspension.
“If I did anything wrong, it was definitely unknowingly,” Jackson said during the hearing.
The FHSAA found that Jackson violated FHSAA Bylaw 37.2.1, which states “no school employee, athletic department staff member, representative of the school’s athletic interests or third parties, such as an independent person, business or organization, may be involved, directly or indirectly, in giving an impermissible benefit to any student or any member of his/her family for the purpose of participating in interscholastic athletics, or to any student-athlete who already attends a school.”
The alleged violation centers around a college trip Jackson led during the summer that Kepley attended.
At the time, Kepley was unenrolled at his previous school, Oceanside Collegiate in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. However, he was not enrolled at Glades Central yet, according to Jackson and an FHSAA document. Kepley enrolled at Glades Central on July 8, Jackson said.
Jackson said the trip was not through Glades Central but through his private company, Jack Academy.
“At that time, Garrison Kepley wasn’t enrolled to any school,” Jackson said during the hearing. “He unenrolled from Oceanside Collegiate Academy on June 5th. The time we were on the trip, he wasn’t a student to any school. So on June 5th, he was unenrolled from Oceanside Collegiate Academy. He went on the trip. He didn’t become a student again until … his dad got a job in Florida, he came down, OK, he enrolled at Glades Central High School, and then he became a student again.”
Glades Central assistant principal Micah Mays said during the hearing that the Palm Beach County School District is also investigating the allegations.
The FHSAA suspended Kepley for the entire 2021 season, which is his senior season. His appeal was denied on Thursday.
Kepley and Jackson both have the right to further appeal to the FHSAA Board of Directors or choose mediation with the FHSAA Executive Director. Jackson said he has not decided what his next step will be.
“Now we have a young man’s life right here,” Jackson said in the hearing. “I think, as adults, we’re all educated people — do we bury a kid? In America, we never want to give a kid a death penalty.
“So what we basically did was say, ‘Hey, you’re suspended for the whole entire year. Your football career is over. You can’t get recruited by colleges. You can’t be seen by colleges. You’re done. So we just crushed the kid’s whole dream, which he’s worked for since he’s 5 years old all the way coming up. We crushed his dream when he hasn’t done anything wrong.”