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SATURDAY, JUNE 23, 2007
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Retired federal judge to run Hoover athletics probe

HOOVER (AP) — A former federal judge will lead an investigation into athletics at Hoover High School of MTV "Two-A-Days" fame, with reports Friday saying two educators claimed to know of grade improprieties involving senior football players.

Sam Pointer, who was lauded for his expertise handling complex litigation while serving as a U.S. district judge for 30 years, will oversee the review for the Hoover school board. The review became public with the resignation of former Hoover athletic director Jerry Browning.

Superintendent Andy Craig said the investigation needed to be run by "somebody that folks will feel unrestricted in speaking with."

Hoover principal Richard Bishop has denied any problems, blaming the review on "unfounded rumors" spread on the Internet and talk radio.

The Birmingham News reported Friday that a Hoover teacher, Forrest Quattlebaum, said a grade was improperly changed from a B to an A for an unnamed football player to help him become eligible to play college football.

"I would love for him to have the 90, but the overall performance was right there in the B range," Quattlebaum told the newspaper. "Seeing the grade had been changed is a little shocking, a little unnerving."

Separately, former assistant superintendent Jan Dennis told the paper a teacher reported to her feeling pressured to give a football player the grade he needed to be eligible for college football.

Dennis said the teacher believed she lost her job for resisting.

Craig did not immediately return message seeking comments on the claims.

Located in suburban Birmingham, Hoover was featured for two seasons on the MTV show "Two-A-Days," a reality program about prep football and teen romance.

The show brought Hoover national notoriety, and players regularly transfer to the school for football.

The program also sparked criticism over the language and methods of head coach Rush Propst, who tried but failed to land a college job after last season.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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