Report: Hoover grade change made Alabama signee eligible
BIRMINGHAM (AP) — An Alabama football signee had a grade changed on his transcript and re-submitted to the university by counselors at Hoover High School, making him eligible, The Birmingham News reported.
The second transcript was sent after Alabama compliance officials called Hoover saying the player — whom the newspaper identified Wednesday as freshman defensive tackle Josh Chapman — was unexpectedly ineligible, according to the high school’s former principal.
The grade change was “an honest mistake” that made the player eligible, said Richard Bishop, who has sued the school system over his firing as principal.
Retired federal judge Sam Pointer Jr. is investigating that and other allegations at Hoover for the school system.
A teacher was also allegedly pressured to give a certain grade to lineman Kerry Murphy, an Alabama signee who is attending prep school after failing to qualify academically, The News reported.
The university wouldn’t comment on Chapman’s case, and declined to make him available for an interview. The player didn’t return messages.
“Whenever we receive information questioning any student-athlete’s eligibility, we evaluate that information and take appropriate action according to the circumstances,” Alabama spokesman Doug Walker said.
Bishop said he and Hoover Superintendent Andy Craig decided not to make a formal correction on the second transcript because Hoover made the mistake. The NCAA Clearinghouse used that version to determine Chapman’s eligibility for this season.
Craig declined to discuss individual cases but said “if an error was made on a grade/transcript in favor of the student, as a general rule, I don’t think we would punish the student for a mistake that we made.”
Hoover High math teacher Forrest Quattlebaum said in June that a senior football player in his class had a grade changed from a B to an A without his consent.
Bishop said Alabama’s compliance office told Hoover’s guidance department that the player was “so many hundredths of a point” shy of being eligible based on the first transcript.
Hoover counselors Cindy Bond and Marley Stephens assumed it was a mistake resulting from a rounding error with the computer system, one of 36 such problems they reported, Bishop said. The counselors then mistakenly averaged the player’s final math grade of 89 with his first-semester grade of a 90 and then rounded up, changing the grade from a B to an A.
Bond and Stephens declined to comment, saying they have been honest with school officials and Pointer in recounting what happened.
Bishop said they had called other teachers but said he didn’t know why they didn’t tell Quattlebaum of the grade change. The teacher found out in a casual conversation with two other school officials days later.
“I would say (it was) just an oversight,” Bishop said.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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