"Why pick on Shiloh for recruiting players? All the other schools do it, too."
I've heard messages similar to this one all week since the news broke that the Shiloh football program and head coach Brian Montgomery were under investigation by both the Gwinnett County Public School system and the Georgia High School Association for recruiting violations.
Our website has been a forum for pointing fingers at other schools who they feel recruit players. Maybe some of those accusations are accurate. Maybe they're not.
But the thing to remember is only one school, Shiloh, has been sloppy enough to get in trouble for it. The investigation has nothing to do with picking on Shiloh or overlooking violations at other schools. It's simply that the Generals' misdeeds became pretty public and impossible to ignore.
Though the investigations aren't complete, it's safe to say that the county dug up some substantial evidence against Montgomery. The decision not to renew his contract wouldn't have been made so quickly if GCPS officials weren't sure of the allegations.
Maybe the most interesting part of this whole situation is the power of a letter from the GHSA. That initial contact sparked a sudden GCPS investigation and swift action against Montgomery, with more penalties likely to come.
Had the GHSA not sent that letter, stating that it intended to look into violations at Shiloh, none of this may have happened.
There's no question that a multitude of high school transfers is an epidemic in Georgia, and it's so vast that the GHSA doesn't have the time or resources to investigate them all. But maybe a letter to the most egregious offenders from time to time would be good for the organization. It may spark immediate action by a school system, like it has in Gwinnett in recent weeks.
The whole Shiloh situation is a mess, one that new principal Eric Parker and interim athletic director Mike Phillips, both great guys, must clean up even though the transgressions happened before either one took over. The school now needs a new football coach in addition to an AD to replace Phillips, who was assigned to Shiloh on a short-term basis to finish out the school year.
There is plenty of work to be done, but I'm hopeful Shiloh can put this whole situation in the past and get its athletic program back on the right track.
Will Hammock can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His column appears on Thursdays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/willhammock. For Hammock's blog, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/willsworld.