News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

Principal calls AU signee ‘ineligible’
Report says Williamson football player had seven grades altered

MOBILE (AP) — Seven grades were changed on the transcript of a Williamson High School football player who signed to play with Auburn, likely affecting his college eligibility, the Press-Register reported Wednesday.

Principal Terrance Mixon said officials now “pretty much know he’s ineligible,” but didn’t identify the player.

He said he still doesn’t know who changed the grades but has limited access to the computer program used to enter and change student transcripts to the school’s registrar.

The principal said it wasn’t clear when the changes were made and that the biggest grade increase was seven points. None of the grades were failing grades.

There has been no indication that Auburn is under investigation or had anything to do with the grade changes.

The newspaper, citing officials close to the situation, said the player has signed to play for the Tigers. All-state lineman Nick Fairley is the only Williamson graduate who is a 2007 Auburn signee.

Mobile County Public Schools Superintendent Harold Dodge has said the school system is investigating grade changes at Williamson and B.C. Rain, where defensive back Ryan Williams has also signed with Auburn.

B.C. Rain coach Anthony Shamburger said Williams’ transcripts were recently sent to the NCAA Clearinghouse, which determines whether athletes are eligible to play at the Division I level.

Dodge said Tuesday both investigations continue.

Fairley said he had been told he could improve his grades through extra-credit work.

The student in question had grades changed in two English classes, geometry and botany “in error” and without the knowledge of the teachers, according to a June 1 letter Mixon wrote to the Clearinghouse.

According to Mixon’s letter, the student also had grades changed in physical science and biology because of a “reporting error.

The teachers approved those two grade changes, but the changes were not put into the school’s computer correctly, Mixon said.

A U.S. history grade was changed after the student performed extra credit, but Mixon’s letter said the final grade was still listed wrong on the transcript.

Mixon is disputing allegations that another grade was changed for an honors history class.

Even though none of the changed grades was a failing score, the eligibility formula requires students must offset lower grade point averages with higher scores on the entrance exams. Mixon believes the corrected grades mean the student would have to post a higher score on the ACT to be eligible.

Saturday is the last time the test will be administered until October, according to ACT’s Web site.

Mixon said school officials are also looking into grade changes involving two other seniors who were not athletes.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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