A special Virginia High School League committee ruled today that Mount Vernon High School had violated the league's recruiting rule and placed the Fairfax County school on "strong probation for the school year 1982-83."
The three-member committee also ruled that Mount Vernon will be on conditional VHSL membership and the boys basketball team may not enter playoff competition towards a district, regional or state title game for the school year 1982-83..
Committee Chairman John Caywood, principal of Menchville, and members Edward S. Szetela, superintendant of the Hampton city schools, and Thomas DeBolt, the principal of Hermitage High in Richmond, listened to a total of 13 hours of testimony May 12 and today at Hermitage.
They deliberated an hour today before finding the school in violation of attempting to recruit seven players from outside its district.
Mount Vernon has 48 hours to appeal. Mount Vernon Principal Thomas Hyer said he was unsure if an appeal would be made.
"I don't know what they based their decision on," said Hyer, who attended today's session along with basketball Coach Don McCool, several assistants, students and parents. "There was still no concrete evidence presented. This was based on some people saying one thing and other people denying. I'm very disappointed."
Robert Hanley, principal of T.C. Williams, said he was satisfied with the committee's findings and added, "Now maybe this recruiting of athletes will stop.
"This was more than T.C. (Williams) versus Mount Vernon," Hanley said. "Other schools were involved. With the evidence presented it was proven that active recruiting went on. Kids are a lot more valuable than just basketball players. We had the goods."
Hanley originally accused Mount Vernon's coaching staff of recruitng 10 basketball players. The committee said today it was convinced seven players were involved.
The committee named T.C. Williams juniors Willie Bailey and Brian Vaughan, Fort Hunt senior Richard Alston, former Mount Vernon player Mike Reid, Mount Vernon junior Derrick Tucker and Groveton sophomore Jerome Worthy and freshman Tracy Scruggs as having been recruited within the last four years by Mount Vernon.
Williams and Mount Vernon presented more than 30 signed affidavits, either stating recruiting charges or refuting them.
Bailey, Vaughan and Alston said today they had been encouraged to transfer to Mount Vernon.
Bailey and Vaughan said Kevin Gibson, a Williams graduate and a volunteer statistician for Mount Vernon, and Mike Evans, basketball coach at Hammond Junior High in Alexandria, had promised them better playing opportunities and college scholarships. Alston said Mount Vernon assistants Todd Crowley and Charles Scudder had talked to him about transferring.
Crowley, Scudder, Evans and Gibson denied the charges in testimony today.
Probably the most damaging testimony was given by Lee basketball Coach Charlie Thompson and his former assistant, Harold Stewart, now head girls coach at Chantilly. Both said that Scudder, who was being interviewed for an assistant's position at Lee three years ago, told them if he were given the job he would bring Mount Vernon players with him.
Scudder said he never tried to influence any player to transfer.
McCool, who came to Mount Vernon from Hayfield five years ago, made no statement during the hearing and had no comment afterward.
Groveton Principal Don Ford said Worthy and Scruggs had come to him and signed affidavits confirming recruitment. "Tracy refused to comment because he felt intimidated," Ford said.
Ford also said Worthy, then an eighth grader at Bryant Intermediate School, had enrolled at Mount Vernon in a food service program. An investigation by the area superintendant, Dr. Herman Howard, revealed that no paper work had been done nor was the area office notified of Worthy's enrollment at Mount Vernon rather than Groveton. Worthy was ordered back to Bryant for the rest of that year.
Evans, who is not on the Mount Vernon staff, said today he doesn't know if he can appeal the VHSL ruling. Evans worked under McCool in a coaching practicum at Mount Vernon. The practicum is a fully accredited class at George Mason University.
Evans has been the Hammond coach the last six years and teaches at the school. He said he had received a letter from the Alexandria superintendant's office that had recommended his dismissal.