Breaking: Restraining Order Prevents GHSA From Forcing Cook County Football Forfeits

October 27, 2023
1 min read

Alapaha Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Clay Tomlinson entered a bombshell restraining order, on Friday morning, preventing the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) from declaring Cook County High School football player Jarvis Kyree Fuller ineligible and forcing the Hornets to forfeit five previous victories in which Fuller participated.

Last week, SBLive reported the GHSA’s decision to declare a Cook player, then unidentified, ineligible and forcing the Hornets to forfeit their previous victories. The decision turned Cook’s record from 5-2 to 0-7, putting their 22-year run of making the state playoffs in jeopardy. The Hornets did win last Friday, against Dodge County, to improve to 1-7, keeping alive faint hopes that they could still qualify for the post-season, even with the forfeits.

On Tuesday, SBLive reported that Cook County had lost its appeal to the GHSA and was considering legal action.

On Friday morning, the Adel News-Tribune in Georgia published the court’s ruling on its Facebook page. It read:

Conclusions of Law

  THEREFORE, based upon the pleadings, evidence, and applicable law, the Court GRANTS the School District’s prayer for a Temporary Restraining Order, enjoining and restraining the GHSA as follows.
   1. From declaring Jarvis Kyree Fuller ineligible;
   2. From requiring the Cook County football team to forfeit any wins;
   3. From declaring the Cook County football team ineligible for the state playoffs;
   4. From levying or collecting any fines against Cook County, and;
   5. From placing the Cook County football on “Server [sic] Warning Status” until such time as this matter may be heard.
   This matter will be set for a hearing to determine whether this Court should issue and Interlocutory Injunction within 30 days, at which this Temporary Restraining Order shall terminate.

The Georgia high school football season is set to conclude the weekend of Nov. 3-4 with the playoffs set to begin the following week. Unless the court takes up the matter prior to the announcement of the playoff brackets and rules in the favor of the GHSA, the state association will be forced to include Cook County and the Hornets will be free to play in the post-season, with Fuller, until the matter is resolved.

Cook County could still be subject to forfeiting games, including potential playoff games, if it does not prevail in the court proceedings, but the restraining order represents a major victory for the Hornets at this juncture.

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