I’m sure most of you remember MTV’s reality show “Two-A-Days” about Hoover, Alabama’s high school football team and their uber-stereotype of a coach, Rush Propst. The show’s first season depicted Hoover winning their fourth straight state title and, among other things, the show introduced us to ‘Bama Bangs and the absurdly attractive young women who date personality-less football players, not that we really needed re-acquainting with the latter. The second season was more of the hot chicks, but less on the winning state titles: the Hoover Bucs lost in the championship game. In the interim, it’s hard to calculate how many times we wondered aloud how long it would be before a major controversy enveloped Hoover regarding their football team.
Well, it turns out Hoover High School Football was as corrupt and scandalous as we, and pretty much everyone else, thought during the show’s airing. Maybe even worse. And it took less than a year after the show ended for the Bucs to land in a steaming pile of controversy. A short list of the issues surrounding Hoover football this season:
-The Bucs were forced to forfeit four games because they used Tristan Purifoy in practice, an ineligible player, who transferred in from another school. The team now must win this Friday’s game to be eligible for the playoffs. They were also fined $500.
– A 67-page investigation led by a retired judge found numerous instances of grade-changing for football players (hence the insanely creative little grade pun in the title of this post). One student was allowed to retake an economics test three times without the teacher’s consent. I’m really more disappointed that the players couldn’t just figure out a good way to cheat. Getting the administration to help is just lazy.
-Propst apparently had an “inappropriate relationship” (but not in a sexual way) with an assistant principal who would pressure teachers and other staff to give extra benefits to football players. The assistant principal has since resigned.
-Propst knowingly used two ineligible players in a JV game against a hated rival. It’s freaking JV and they’re still cheating. That’s the very height of pathetic.
-An assistant coach went to another school’s practice to spy for Hoover. Insert Belichick joke here. Hoover was fined a whopping $250 for this offense. No word on whether Gregg Easterbrook will make Hoover the subject of his next six Tuesday Morning Quarterback columns (which are excellent, by the way).
-Propst may have failed to report thousands of dollars in income from television broadcasts of Hoover games and football camps. Any of this income would be illegal for him to obtain. The guy already makes over $100,000 a year and gets a free car from a local dealership, how greedy can he be? Nevermind.
-The investigation also found that Propst may have a second family whom he supported in another town. Propst allowed the investigators to examine his bank records and they found he “has been providing financial support for this family.” Well, if Propst wanted a way to make all the other improprieties surrounding his team seem somehow less important, this little piece of gossip got the job done, unlike John Parker Wilson’s little brother. That kid was terrible. Aww, I’m kidding. Stop being so sensitive.
In the end, this could cost Propst his job at Hoover, but it’s doubtful it’ll change the culture surrounding the team all that much. It’s not like the Hoover Bucs are an isolated case. There is so much pressure placed on high school programs, coaches and especially players these days that things like changing grades are a fairly common form of cheating. For kids that are good at sports, the emphasis is often to remain good at sports and keep school second. The football-player-as-hero culture is nothing new at high schools, but some schools and fan-bases take things way too far. And then create a reality show about the caricature that their affluent suburb has become. Maybe being on television isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.