On Wednesday, GHSA Executive Director Ralph Swearngin ruled that senior linebacker Corey Smith was ineligible after not making a "bona fide" move into the Dalton school district under GHSA rules and that the Catamount football program had to forfeit four victories in which Smith competed.
Friday morning, Dalton Principal Debbie Freeman, Assistant Principal Steve Bartoo and Athletic Director Ron Ward traveled to Thomaston to appeal that decision before four members of the GHSA's Executive Committee.
The appeal was heard by Earl Etheridge of Savannah-Chatham County Schools, Glenn White of Model High School in Rome, Raynette Evans of Macon-Bibb County Schools and Ron Sebree of DeKalb County Schools. The vote to deny the appeal was unanimous, according to GHSA Director of Media Relations Steve Figueroa.
Dalton's appeal was not based on the ruling of eligibility in the case of Smith, who was determined to a "migrant" student under GHSA rules and therefore ineligible for varsity competition, but was on the "basis for the penalty" according to a statement released by Dalton Public Schools on Thursday.
Reached by phone Friday afternoon, Ward said a release would be on Dalton's website and had no further comment. The statement on the website merely said the appeal had been denied.
Dalton could appeal the decision to the 50-member Executive Committee, but the school would be responsible for the cost of convening the meeting, which Figueroa said would be around $3,000. Friday's meeting cost $500, which was covered by a donation from the Dalton Quarterback Club.
Dalton's record now stands at 2-6 overall and 2-2 in Region 7A-3A play. The Catamounts travel to Southeast Whitfield tonight for a 7:30 kickoff.
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