Valdosta QB Garcia under investigation by GHSA

Shane Thomas | The Valdosta Daily TimesValdosta High quarterback Jake Garcia (6) throws downfield during the team's season opener against Warner Robins Sept. 4 at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium.

VALDOSTA, Ga. –– The eligibility of Valdosta (Georgia) High senior quarterback Jake Garcia — a college recruit who transferred from California — has come under question by the Georgia High School Association.

The investigation comes on the heels of a report by ESPN's Mark Schlabach, where it was revealed that Garcia's parents, Randy and Yvonne, dissolved their marriage Aug. 20 to clear the way for their son's transfer to Valdosta to play for embattled head coach Rush Propst. 

Propst, who was featured on the MTV reality show "Two-A-Days," has won seven state championships and left his last to coaching stints at Colquitt County, Georgia and Hoover, Alabama under a cloud. 

Propst made room on his roster for the highly touted Garcia, a USC commit.

Randy Garcia, Jake's father, told ESPN he and his wife plan to get back together once their son's season at Valdosta High ends.

Garcia, a transfer from La Habra (Calif.), played in the Wildcats' season opener and helped lead the team to a season-opening victory against Warner Robins. Garcia completed 22-of-34 passes for 332 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in his Wildcat debut.

The quarterback was ruled out of Valdosta's game Sept. 18 against Bainbridge with a hamstring injury.

Propst declined to comment on the GHSA investigation Wednesday afternoon, but told the media the decision to sit Garcia was due to Garcia's hamstring injury and not his eligibility.

By rule, if the GHSA rules Garcia ineligible, Valdosta would be forced to forfeit any games Garcia participates in.

Propst had said Garcia would be a game-time decision for Friday's game against Colquitt County in Moultrie, Georgia. Garcia could not answer the bell, with junior Amari Jones getting the nod. 

Valdosta (2-1) had been ranked No. 1 in Class 6A before Friday when the team faced Propst's former team in South Georgia's oldest football rivalry.

But the Wildcats, without Garcia, could not overcome what Propst called "a fiasco of mistakes" in a 24-10 loss to the Colquitt County Packers (2-0). 

For Propst, it was the first time on the Valdosta sideline after 11 years as head coach of the rival Packers.

“You know, I’ll keep my emotions in check,” Propst said of returning to Colquitt. “It’s about the players. It’s about our players and them winning the ballgame. Emotionally, for me, I left in a tough situation. There’s no bones about it that I wasn’t happy about it. I felt like I was done wrong. There’s no question I was done wrong. So, will there be a little bit of incentive? Maybe. But still, it boils down to the players; not me. It’s not about me. 

GHSA has not given a timeline for a final decision on Garcia's eligibility. 

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