Thursday, November 22, 2007

More from South Meck's Jimmy Yokeley

In today's editions of the Observer, South Mecklenburg parent Jimmy Yokeley was nice enough to give me an exclusive interview about his son Jey, who was declared inelgible two weeks ago forcing South Meck to forfeit all wins in a 7-4 season.

Jimmy Yokeley found out about the decision on his son about 3:30 the afternoon of Nov. 9, when the Sabres were minutes away from boarding a bus to go to Central Cabarrus. His wife, Sheila, gave him the tearful news on his cell phone.

Jimmy was driving from his home in Wilmington and changed routes. When he got to South's campus, he saw the principal, AD, parents and team all mulling around the football field.

He looked up. At the top of the visitor's stands was his son, 18-year-old Jey, sitting alone, his head in his heads.

"Daddy," Jey said, his face ashen from crying, "I can't believe this is happening."

Today, there are 10 Yokeleys eating Thanksgiving dinner at Jimmy Yokeley's parents home. Jimmy says they will talk about everything but eligibility while enjoying Grandma Judy's turkey, ham and vegetable casseroles, her specialties.

The family is still dealing with the fallout over Jey's eligibility and Jimmy explains in the print article that while his family never asked CMS directly about sports eligiblity when it was going through a rigorous process to get Jey enrolled, including signing a document where CMS was granting his grandparents "in locos parentis," that he felt someone should've told them they needed a legal guardianship transfer.

As it was, the papers that allowed Jey to legally enroll as a student were completed and Jey enrolled last January. In the fall, the papers were redone and sent to the state along with all the Sabres' football players forms. The Yokeleys felt that they'd done everything they needed to.

South AD Mike Jones apparently missed that Jey needed a guardianship transfer when he checked the paperwork before the season and Jones -- whom many people in CMS' athletics tells me is a wonderful man -- would've been the last person able to notice it.

"Mike Jones recorded everything accurately," Jimmy Yokeley said. "He even checked a part of the form that says this student does not live with his parents. I can understand how this happened. Mike, who is a great guy and a great up and coming athletic director, looked at the in loco parentis form, and I'm sure he assumed Jey's grandparents had legal guardianship. The form even talks about acting guardians, not legal, but acting. I'm sure Mike thought Jey was in total compliance."

Unfortunately, Jey was not.

Jimmy Yokeley said at the school the day the team was pulled off the bus, Jey stood in front of his teammates and said to the school's principal, "If I'm the reason we have to sit out, take me off the team and let them play."

Some of his teammates stood up and said, "No, if Jey's not playing, we're not playing."

It's been a trying time for the Yokeley's, who have dealt with people telling what Jimmy calls "some untruths." But Jimmy Yokeley said he wanted to thank people who have supported the family.

I asked him his reaction to the Independence situation, since the Patriots had an apparent ineligible player removed -- because he'd apparently deceived the school about his residence -- and Independence would continue playing whereas South could not.

"I'm not surprised that was the result," Jimmy Yokeley said. "I'm not mad. I've nothing against Independence. I've known Tommy Knotts since I was a kid. My family and his family have been friends in Albemarle for years. My wife, Sheila, taught (Indy AD) Kelly Lewis' kids in Christian pre-school."

Ten years ago, the NCHSAA changed their rules on eligiblity to allow schools, like Independence, to continue playing if a student deceived them about his residence or eligibility, executive director Charlie Adams said. Schools were being forced to forfeit when they really didn't have anything to do with the one family who was causing the problem. The schools asked and got that rule change, Adams said.

I hope the NCHSAA can adopt another rule, or an addendum to one -- to allow a quick review and perhaps a hardship for schools like South and families like the Yokeleys who do everything they're asked to do, but because something uninentionally slips by or no one tells them something is needed legally that the team isn't punished also.

A grace period could've been granted to South, under my scenario, to get Jey Yokeley's eligibility up to standard.

South could've played the game with Central Cabarrus and had it won, it would have had 24 hours on the next business day or 48 to clear up the matter. I think that might be fair.

Finally, I wanted to share a letter that Jey's mother Sheila sent to the Sabres family. She gave me permission to release it. I edited it for brevity and clarity.
============================================================
Langston Wertz Jr.
lwertz@charlotteobserver.com

____________________________________________________________

Subject: To our SM families

To all South Meck family members, friends, and supporting community:

Our hearts are torn with sadness for the pain we have unintentionally caused the football program and the entire Sabre community. We cannot describe the misery of the (initial) 40 hours. We are being bombarded by the media (both local and national) and are choosing to minimize what is said.

I am writing from my heart as a parent and mother to reach out to everyone to provide truthful facts that may help everyone involved understand how this tragedy reached the point to a call to the NCHSAA.

We should all be proud of Dr. Furr, Ath. Dir. Mike Jones, and Head Coach Martin. Each of them acted correctly and in proper duty of their responsibilities. We should all continue to stand firm in our support and loyalty to them. They are absolutely awesome and are determined to do what is right for our team. PLEASE keep supporting them. I am too exhausted, ill, and devastated at this point. We need each and everyone of you to help fight this battle.

As most of you know, we lived in the South Meck district for 12 years prior to moving to Union County in late 2003. His oldest and closest friends are there and that is where he wanted to be. It had nothing to do with sports, only friendships.

Let me explain the background of the changes in schools made along the way to Jey arriving at South Meck:

In November 2005, we put our house up for sale to move back into the South Meck district. God had a different plan.

One week later, Jimmy lost his job due to a corporate cut back. In January 2006, Jimmy accepted a job in Wilmington where we were going to relocate. We left our house on the market to go forward and move to Wilmington. Jey went on to Wilmington with Jimmy to start school and I stayed home to continue with my job until such time the house sold and we could move. We were all miserable!

Jey did not play football at Hoggard High. He ran track. After six weeks, Jimmy's job began requiring much travel, our house still had not sold, so we made a family decision to bring Jey back home. He returned to Weddington to finish out his sophomore year.

At this point, a few of our South Meck dear friends had moved their sons (Jey's best buddies) to Charlotte Christian. We went over and visited. We saw and heard great things about the school. We talked with many staff members and naturally coaches.

With Jimmy commuting to Wilmington, me working, house for sale, it seemed to be a stable, nurturing environment for Jey and our family.

It was now July 2006.

For many reasons, it turned out not to be what we expected, Jey's South Meck friends left Christian and returned to South Meck, and to be forthright and honest, it was a financial burden. At this point, Jey asked to go to South Meck to finish high school with his lifelong friends as well as the good education.

This was now January 2007.

With Jimmy still employed in Wilmington, our plans still to move to Wilmington, we approached his grandparents (who live in the South Meck district) to allow Jey to come stay with them until such time we moved - thinking it would be summer.

We went through every proper step with CMS to get approval. We offered to give legal guardianship, but we were told by CMS that it was not necessary due to the unusual circumstances. All forms were signed, documentation processed, etc. Sadly, what CMS approved, the NCHSAA deemed it insufficient. Even with each form submitted by South Meck to the NCHSAA, no one there noticed a "flag" for an entire season.

It was now May 2007, school is coming to a close, and Jey's senior year is upon us.

Jimmy's employer allowed us an extension to relocate. We put our house on the market to sale and buy in the South Meck district so that we could have our son back at our home with us and not leave the circumstances as they were.

Once again God had a different plan.

I was diagnosed with cancer. While I was still in the hospital from having a bilateral mastectomy, Jimmy immediately went to CMS once again to get approval for Jey to remain at South Meck for his senior year and until we could get moved to that district he continued to stay with his grandparents.

Circumstances at this point became so overwhelming, we chose to take our Union County house off of the market because we are physically and emotionally unable to go through a move right now. Cancer affects the ENTIRE family. It is a battle that you can't even describe in words. Jimmy remains commuting to Wilmington, I am fighting with all of my strength and heart, and Jey is the happiest he has been in a very long time because of all of you. THANK YOU! After graduation, and my health is restored, we will finish the journey and possibly relocate to Wilmington.

Please know that from the bottom of our hearts we are so very, very sorry for the pain this has caused everyone. We love you all. Somehow in the midst of this, we know we will all learn from it and become stronger.

I am so proud of our sons. I am proud of you parents. I am proud of South Mecklenburg High School. As I say repeatedly, WE ARE SABRES. WE ARE SURVIVORS.

With warmest regards,
The Yokeley Family

53 comments:

Larry in Stallings said...

I will start with "I don't have a dog in the fight". It seems South Meck and the Yokeley's did everything right and someone at CMS gave the OK for Jey to play or never said he could not play when asked if he plays sports. How can that be the schools fault? You have a kid at Independence with three addresses that played for a coach in Union County, is that not a red flag and how can the school not be held accountable. CMS it's time to stand up and put the blame back where it belongs, on your self and end the season for what is known as the BIG I and send the Yokeley's and South Meck a public apology!

Anonymous said...

If Jey doesn't get enough turkey at Grandma's house-will the parents move him to another house so he could get his turkey. Give me a break--he searched the surroundings to find a school where he could play football and it finally bit him and his team in the butt.

Mary Newsome said...

Langston, thanks for the article and blog today and this clears up the Jay Yokly situation so much. I agree the NCHSA should have made an exception. This family did nothing wrong. They didn't ask the right question. School officials should have guided them.

Good job Langston. this was done with the compassion that has been missing in your paper's other stories on this issue

Anonymous said...

Langston, thanks from the south meck family for being a voice of reason. we'll get through this. maybe now, since you reported the FACTS in this case, people can leave our kids alone and our quarterback alone. i think we should be playing friday like independence but that is another story. thanks for your effort. know it is very much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Langston, thanks for putting out the truth about our boys and having some heart. I always thought you were against us. A Sabre football player

GA On My Mind said...

Sadly, if the the NCHSAA made exceptions for every scenario, there would be bigger messes than already exist in the process.

I feel for the kid from SM and I understand the situation at Indy, too.

If the state athletic associations will ever realize that high school athletics are to serve the kids, then we can fix this. This is not the only state it happens.

Knotts and Indy are high-profile and people are going to take shots at them to try and taint their legacy. Anyone with any true sense or high school coaching experience knows that it is impossible to take or follow every kid home and frankly that is not part of the job description. If they ever add that, maybe coaches can make dollars on the hour versus pennies to help cover the extra gas cost.

Back off and leave Indy alone and let the SM family grieve. It's time to rewrite the rules on paper instead of stone anyway.

GA On My Mind said...

I also meant to mention the incredibly high number of student-athletes who reside with an aunt/uncle/grandparent, etc. because their parents are too sorry to stay in the picture. How do you get Power of Attorney and Legal Guardianship changed when you can't find the parent?

We aren't serving the kids anymore.

Anonymous said...

Only in the convoluted world of ostrich type “head in the sand” bureaucracy like CMS can a situation like this take place. Let’s see if this makes sense: Family A enrolls their child in school via the CMS enrollment department downtown (twice). The student is good to go as a student and then when asked if the student needs to be assigned “legal guardianship” to his Grandparents the answer from CMS is “no”. CMS mouth piece Nora Carr blames School A’s AD. School B has a football player on its team with three different (check that – 4) in two years, played defense for school B’s defensive coordinator while the coordinator was head coach at school C three years prior. This player is declared ineligible because the fan he was staying with in school B district isn’t a guardian, a parent, a grandparent, a relative, a friend, a friend of friend, no simply a “person” on parent met at a game. Doesn’t this always happen… I mean doesn’t everyone let their child go a stay with a complete stranger for a year or two just in case the child might somehow be able to “make” school B’s football team. Now we hear from the infamous CMS mouthpiece Nora Carr saying that the student is at fault and school B will not be punished. Hmmmmmm? School B’s Head Coach is supposed to be the most brilliant coach of all time, the AD the smartest AD in recorded history (at least they had the good sense to enroll their kids in a private school – but I digress) and yet these two brilliant people were foiled by a 16 year kid. Sort of makes you wonder how easy the classes these two teach might be to pass. The lesson here – Parents, ADs, coaches from other schools other than school B take note… this is the way to circumvent the CMS rules game. You may a: Give your child’s legal guardianship to anyone in any district that you want. Or B: act like you are just some poor ignorant fool.

I have a new slogan for school B:

I gnorance
I s
Bl I ss

Anonymous said...

Langston in your article you said that the AD would not comment on the story, but isn’t it true that all of the CMS Athletic Directors are not talking about this because CMS directed them not to speak about this? Not just Mike Jones at South Meck? If not could you ask a few of them about their thoughts of the situation.

M. Whitten, Charlotte NC said...

So let me get this correct. If the Jey's parents lied and just said they were living in the same house with his grandparents South Mecks team could still be playing because it's ok to LIE. Man that tells me a lot about CMS. Thank god we approved the bond to teach kids it's ok to LIE but not to tell the truth. Also to the person who made the comment about Jey getting enough turkey at his grandparents house, you sir or ma am have no morals and a poor lack of judgment. Maybe next time you could leave your name or are you ashamed to leave your name after such a comment? Good Day and Happy Thanksgiving.

Anonymous said...

In the Independence case, Carr said, school officials still do not know where Watkins lives, but conflicting documents led to the senior's removal from the team. "There are significant questions, enough to raise numerous red flags," she said....So, why wasn't the same thing done to the South Meck student? Why was the whole team punished for the one who did all the "RIGHT" things. Then another team stays in and the one who is "WRONG" is punished, and not the whole team? How many players on a football team? What makes it so hard for them to be check out for all "CORRECT" information that is "TRUTHFUL"! Shame on CMS, you get a no passing grade of "F" (failure).

Anonymous said...

Langston, I loved your suggestion to let South play and get them a grace period to take care of Jey's eligiblity on Monday after. That makes the most sense of anything I've read.

Anonymous said...

"GAME"
Good Boys - 0
Bad Boys - 2

Good- done everything right-0
Bad-Indy Coach assault parent-1pt.
Indy player lie-1pt.

WINNER "BAD BOYS"

Anonymous said...

The Observer and Ryan Basden deserve a lot of the blame in this mess. If they wanted to do a story, why didn't they after the idiocy of the eligibility rules, and not the players? They ran the story because it makes a big splash and thsu makes them money. (And they need all the profits they can get these days). If the Observer had any sense of duty to the public, they would have run an article on the whys and hows of the rules and left Jey out of this. It's not hard, editors of the Observer. You wait until summer, examine the rules, expose what you need to, and make a difference with out shamelessly trampling on the lives of these kids. Shame, shame, shame.

Rich R said...

Anonymous said...

The Observer and Ryan Basden deserve a lot of the blame in this mess. If they wanted to do a story, why didn't they after the idiocy of the eligibility rules, and not the players? They ran the story because it makes a big splash and thsu makes them money. (And they need all the profits they can get these days). If the Observer had any sense of duty to the public, they would have run an article on the whys and hows of the rules and left Jey out of this. It's not hard, editors of the Observer. You wait until summer, examine the rules, expose what you need to, and make a difference with out shamelessly trampling on the lives of these kids. Shame, shame, shame.
----------

Anonymous, I think the stories came out when they found out about them. As a Sabres parent, I did not like the way Basen reported the story. He dogged our parents, hid in the bushes to dog Jey. I hear he did the same thing at Olympic with Barry Shoeford. I would rather Langston and Cliff done these stories than Ryan. Who is Ryan anyway? You can see a clear difference in the story Langston had today, the two of them and what we have seen from Ryan, who I am sure a lot of people would rather never have to deal with again.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me like a case of CMS taking care of its "Nationally Reknown" football darlings.

Anonymous said...

CMS teacher:
CMS says one thing and does another thing. They act when things are convenient or beneficial for them. They lie to cover themselves and nobody holds CMS administrators accountable. Gorman cannot answer a question without talking out of both sides of his mouth.

Anonymous said...

ozqfjrlYea we feel sorry for South Meck who hadnt been in the playoffs for 12 yrs and then this YET Indy has been Gods gift to football and given a trillion pages of media and gets off the hook.

North Meck lost a 5 year very popular football coach after last years Davie Cty loss at the buzzer because the rogue new principal failed to do his job and keep a taunting idiot parent off the field from Davie whose son had tranferred there earlier in the season so he knew he could get away with complaining against the coach who was hen suspended from coaching for a whole year for nothing but verbally getting the troublemaker off the Viks side of the field at a home game. Hows that for justice? We know CMS admin never stands behind teachers or coaches unless its Indy ot TK.

TK broke a fans nose and in litigation and got 10 days suspension? Yes, he should have confronted the cursing fan because we know the cops or administrators never do their jobs.

Low profile schools and coaches are penalized with unfair harshness while Indy and its coach get a slap on the wrist. CMS Justice!!!!

Pathetic situations at South and North but typical.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad the truth came about Jey, maybe now people can stop all this he was looking for a job talk.

Anonymous said...

Vicki Hamilton is retiring, Hooray! Uh oh, she wants a job with NCHSAA. The conspiracy will continue... Indy are the cream of the crop when it comes to flat out in you face cheating and their willing accomplices in CMS should be so proud.

kannapolis wonder hater said...

Anonymous said...
"Seems to me like a case of CMS taking care of its "Nationally Reknown" football darlings."

HOW TRUE, HOW TRUE, HOW TRUE!

This is the second time a Tommy Knotts team has been called into question, and god only knows how many other players he's had that has gotten away with not living in the district they are suppose too..

For years there have been the rumors about Tommy Knotts and his recruiting antics, isn't it about time a IN DEPTH investagation is done on him and his action..

This whole think is a travisty, but it's clear that CMS IS taking care of its "Nationally Reknown" football darlings."

I bet if they only had a 9 game winning streak going and not listed among the elite teams in the nation, Independence wouldn't be playing tomorrow night against East Burke....

GO EAST BURKE!
BEAT THE LIEING CHEATING BIG I, AND THE CMS SYSTEM THAT DEFFENDS THEM....

Anonymous said...

All you people that keep hating on Indy....GET A LIFE!!!!!
These are different situations. Yes. South Meck shouldn't have been punished. But what has happened, has happened. Let it go. Let NCHSAA apologize to South Meck, and get on with your lives.
You keep saying that SM shouldn't have been punished...so Indy shouldn't either. Why make Indy pay for the mistakes of the stupid NCHSAA?
LET IT GO!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

this j sucks

Joe said...

This comment from the article written by Ryan Basen was thought provoking: "The Observer this week inquired about the eligibility of seven other Independence players and six West Charlotte players. CMS is double-checking their eligibility, said CMS spokeswoman Nora Carr. It is also double-checking the eligibility of other athletes now in the playoffs or participating in winter sports." Imagine if both W. Charlotte and Independence win their games Friday. Will they both have to wait on a ruling from CMS or the NCHSAA to see if ineligible players are on their teams? If they rule that both teams are guilty of wrongdoing, will both teams have to forfeit the Western 4AA championship game and their season and will the 4AA championship be given by default to the winner of the Eastern side of the bracket? Is Ryan or anyone else at the Observer checking all teams in the state of North Carolina in the playoffs to question if ineligible players exist on their teams? What if it was determined that the team S. Mecklenburg was to play also had an ineligible player? There are a number of people who are upset with the process, the rulings and the reporting. Evidently, this situation will never be resolved to the satisfaction of everyone, especially if a child, due to no fault of their own, is in a dysfunctional family. An even greater problem and that you can't teach honesty, whether it is professional sports (NE Patriots "spygate", MLB steroids or NASCAR crewchiefs) or high schools sports. Some parents or players in every sport will continually seek opportunities, even dishonestly, to play for a certain coach or go to a certain school where they believe they have the best opportunity to be successful.

Anonymous said...

The South Mecklenburg player did everything possible to comply with regulations. The Independence player blatantly lied. South Mecklenburg is required to forfeit an entire season. Independence is asked to have their lying player sit out a game.

CMS, for shame. Can't anyone downtown see what is wrong with this? Dr. Gorman, you live in the South Mecklenburg attendance area, why aren't you appalled and vocal about it?

Chin up, South Mecklenburg guys. You go to an excellent high school, you will go to excellent colleges and universities and you will have great lives. This sorry episode hurts now but won't hurt you forever.

CMS, however, takes another hit to credibility and reputation and more parents decide they want no part of it, exiting the system. CMS gets weaker, further damaging what was once the state's leading public school system. Shame, shame, shame.

Anonymous said...

Here is the latest quote from Peter Gorman on the South Meck situation: " " and this " " later he said " ".

Dang Peter, I know brevity is supposedly the soul of wit. But I get more statements from my dog when he's asleep(and I don't have a dog. Man up and try to lead for a change.

Bob said...

I have absolutely no dog in this fight other than I care about kids which obviously Ryan and the observer do not. I understand he is just trying to make a name for himself. Since he seems so interested in ruining athletes lives of which most all of them will not play beyond high school, I assume the observer is going to inquire into all students to make sure they are going to the right school. Do you not think maybe cheerleaders, band kids, high academic kids, may be fudging their addresses so that they can go to a different school? I bet there are more kids going to the "wrong" school for various other reasons than there are athletes so why the HATE on just one set of kids!!!!

Nancy said...

Dr. Gorman a lie is a LIE. I am ashamed I pay taxes in this county and they go to paying they salary of the likes of Vicki Hamilton. How dare you teach our kids that it is ok to lie and cheet the system. How much money does CMS take home from each game Independence pays in? How much are they going to make if they go all the way? Do not want to stop the "Cash Cow" from producing the revenues!! We are intelegent adults, like all the upper officials of CMS, how can you reinforce the lies and the untruths? How do you sleep at night? Take away a season because an Athletic Director had overlooked a player who just wanted to pay football with his friends?? Let a team advance in the playoffs while you "look into the matter" after he lies, and so do his parents? What are you teaching our children CMS? I am so ashamed of you, all of you!!

Let South Meck play if you are going to let Independence play!

Justin said...

Okay, Let's all look at the situation the way that it is. The South Meck player seems to have follow all of the paperwork and was told by their school "not to worry" The NCHSAA punished the school for not following the rules. I do not agree to the fact that they were forced to forefit their season. I agree that they should have let them play and then done their investigation.

To all of the people upset about the Indy situation and saying "SM player tells the truth and looses the season. Indy player lies and they keep playing" STOP BEING IGNORANT!!! The player that lied was punished and is off of the team. You certainly can't penalize the rest of the team for those actions. I am not saying that what happened to South Meck is fair, but they are really two different situations. SM was punished because the school made the mistake and that is the only way to punish the program. Indy followed every bit of NCHSAA regulations and can't help if they were lied to. I am not saying that it is a fair and just system, but unfortunately it is our CMS system. Hopefully this will help CMS to have clearer policies and procedures.

To all of the people saying that CMS is "taking care of Indy because of their national stature" you people obviously have no idea what you are talking about. Look at a few different things: Anybody been to the Indy football stadium lately??? Nice how CMS can spend millions of dollars on the design for Audrey Kell High and supports any money to be spent at schools like Myers Park, but when Indy asked for assistance in building a seperate football training building so that the players didnt have to share lockers and equipment, CMS was quick to say NO. When asked for help to build more seating in their stadium, CMS said NO. During the Myers Park vs. Indy playoff game last year, EVERY SINGLE CMS offical sat on the vistors side with Myers Park to kiss Jerry Richardsons butt. CMS has no love for Independence. CMS has love for schools in financially stable neighborhoods. So please, stop using that lame excuse that CMS is taking care of Indy because of their winning streak, because CMS cares about as much for Indy as it does for Garinger.

To all of the other people who are praising Langston and everyone from the Charlotte Observer for their kind words of South Meck, why don't you ask The Observer why this is all going down right now? What happened to SM and what is happening to Indy and WC right now is all because the Charlotte Observer decided that right before the playoff's, they should conduct investigations of some CMS playoff teams. People, wake up and smell the coffee. The observer is the "media" and the media loves nothing more than to start some drama. Everything that is happening is because the Observer wanted something to write about, something to start drama about, and they started pressuring CMS to do something about it. Too bad they chose to start with SM.

Anonymous said...

I would just love to know how many of these comments are from SM and Butler fans and parents? I'm sure you are hurting and angry right now but some of your comments are downright full of hate. Why don't you turn your anger to the NCHSAA or CMS.

I am so very proud of the Independence Patriots, students and parents, for not throwing stones back at you all.

Anonymous said...

Justin, it isn't ignorance to decry the injustice here. You, like many, cling to "the rules" as though that should absolve an Independence program that has been rumored to cheat for years. Please explain to me why the lies of one player should not cost the entire team. South Mecklenburg did the right thing and the entire team was punished; the lying Independence player is the only one punished. Why don't you stop making apologies for a program that has been rumored to cheat for years?

You're right about one thing-they are two entirely different situations. South Mecklenburg is and always has been an outstanding high school. Independence, not so much.

Justin said...

To Anonymous:

It is amazing to hear people talk about how Independence has been cheating for years, but no one has ever come up with any solid proof. Independence's football program has been looked into for years because of their national attention. Everyone hates the team on top so it's easy to cry "cheaters, cheaters".

What makes SM the better school? The fact that it's in a nicer community? I live in the SM district and know people that have gone there. I would say that it is a decent school, but not ranked about many of the others.

Surely enough, you can't be talking about the footbal program vs. Independence's?

South Meck didnt follow the rules and Indy did. Sad story for some, but it is what it is. I feel for the SM players, because they should not have been punished for the school'd mistakes of overlooking the proper rules.

Anonymous said...

This has been going on for quite sometime at Independence. 100% Fact: CJ Leak did not live in the Independence district 2 of the 3 years he played there.

Anonymous said...

I am amazed at the numer of people on here who say with one breath that what happened to South Meck was wrong (it was - they should have played) and with the next say that since SM was wronged, Indy should be, too. Shame on you. Two wrongs don't make a right.

will said...

Whenever the football coach runs the school you know that you have problems. This is not new this has been going on for a long time know, some of that 7 needs to be trimmed down!

Anonymous said...

What a terrible shame about South Meck but noone has heard about this coach at North Meck situation until lately and on the high school prep blogs. Tommy Knotts only gets a 10 day suspension for breaking a nuisance fans nose while a North Meck coach get a whole year suspension for running a nuisance fan off their side of the field? This is a joke right? Wow. These examples of rigged blatant favoritism dont stack up even up in hell.

Where is the CMS superintendant? Does he realize how bad CMS looks now or is this just the tip of the iceberg they are trying to cover up? Has someone opened a can of worms? Scam City baby. Get it all out in the open.

Anonymous said...

This entire situation is insulting to not only the South Mecklenburg school/community, but to the city of Charlotte/Metro as well. Where is Superintendant Gorman? South Regional Superintendent Avossa? Ms. Carr? Ms. Hamilton? Have any of you shown up to speak to the SM student body? Parents? Alumni? The family involved? Where is the leadership and character of CMS? Set aside all issues with Independence.....deal with one issue at a time. A detailed explanation is in order to all involved with South Meck High School and its supporting community, then move on to deal with your next issue.

An Ex-Corporate Sponsor of CMS

Anonymous said...

It is unbelievable the rumors that people will print.

Tom Knotts did not break anyone's nose. It is my opinion his situation was handled properly. It appears alot less happened in the confontation than what people would like to believe.

People may think that Tom Knotts is the poster boy for CMS but many feel that he is a big thorn in the side of the NCHSAA and CMS. He is often at odds with them and speaks his feelings.

The CJ Leak occurence had no direct correlation to the present situation. Tom Knotts was the coach at Indy's archrival West Charlotte at the time and for a couple of years after CJ graduated from Indy.

Based on the NCHSAA rules on eligibility CMS has implemented the rules correctly to each case. We may not agree but that is the way they are written. The rule on fraudulent documentation provided by the player or guardian was written over ten years ago at the request of the schools. It has been cited in some past cases including one in Cabarrus County two years ago.

I feel for the Yokeley family and the South football family. Hopefully this will allow the rules to be rewritten to allow an honest oversight to be corrected and not require the school to forfeit games.

Everyone can point to Indy but most AD's and coaches expect every team in the state located in an urban area has ineligible players if the rules are enforced fully.

Anonymous said...

hey, i play for independence but i live in Florida. Its all good though because when coach knotts was recruiting me he told me that if it is ever discovered that i dont live where my paperwork says i live, that all i have to do is say "look cms, i lied ok. I made a mistake, ur surely cant punish the rest of the team."

Anonymous said...

to anonymous posted 11/23 at 5:23 pm ... that is very funny... rotfl... but you know the main reason i can tell you're lying? because independence doesnt have ignorant students like you that have nothing better to do but hate on others. grow up.

Anonymous said...

Nora Carr,

How dare you throw Mike Jones under the bus “A more experienced AD might have been alerted.” Mike Jones is a man of integrity and truly cares about his students and athletes and would have never done this intentionally, I cannot say the same for you.

To all of you that say the situations at SM and Indy are different; I challenge you to go to the NCHSAA website and look at the rules for eligibility and tell me the page that has an exemption for the player that lies about where he is living. The fact is that is that both teams were ruled to have an ineligible player and if there are any differences one team had a player that deliberately broke the rules and one team had a player whom did everything possible to ensure he was following the rules.

Rusty Shackleford said...

To "Justin" (if that indeed is your name):

You speak in derisive terms of the "media," which is a broad stroke of the brush.

I have been in the "media" for close to 35 years now, more than 30 years of it in newspapers and all dealing with prep sports. I got out of sports in general and the prep sports circus in particular a number of years ago and I don't miss it. It's episodes like this that left a bad taste in my mouth.

I got tired of dishonest and morally bankrupt coaches in the part of the Carolinas in which I was working, but compared to all the hubbub currently going on in not just CharMeck but apparently also in the Triad (oh, heck, anywhere there is a precious prep football empire to protect with kid gloves).

It's not just high schools, but look at even lower (younger) levels of sports. It's sad.

When I covered sports, it was not my intent to get players and coaches in trouble (because these people had families and relatives). These players and coaches seemed to do a pretty dandy job of getting into trouble on their own and still are. Particularly troubling are those coaches who try to protect particular star players who have come up on the wrong side of the law or the police blotter (which is a public document).

It has gotten to the point where I can't even watch the Friday night scoreboards with the sound on. I heard yelling one night earlier this season and thought a crime was being committed. I love that mute button, ------ and --------.

All the media likes is drama? You're absolutely right. I like "Gray's Anatomy" and "CSI: Miami." And "Friday Night Lights."

So "Justin," I'll see you at church Sunday, OK? Sounds like a dose of the Lord might do you some good.

Anonymous said...

to anonymous posted 12/24 @ 12:40 ... i don't know what you're looking at on the nchsaa website but i've copied over what i see under penalties/procedures ..
south meck being in category of #1
indy being in category of #2

please read below and PLEASE tell me where i'm wrong.



PROCEDURE
1. Any high school which allows an ineligible student to participate by dressing for and/or
participating in an athletic contest shall forfeit all contests in which the student dressed
or participated. In addition, the student will be dropped from the team until his/her
eligibility has been restored. The team may participate in playoffs if, despite the inclusion
of the forfeited contests as a loss in its season record, it would otherwise qualify.
2. If documented proof of a student’s eligibility is found to have been falsified by the
student and/or his parents or legal custodian, and this could not be determined by
reasonable scrutiny of the school, then the student shall be dropped from the team
135
for the remainder of the season but the team’s record and playoff privileges will not
be affected. (Note: In cases of conflicting, blemished, altered or illegible records, the
onus rests with school officials to determine the correct information. Documents
which should be checked by school officials would include, but not be limited to, all
permanent records on file in the school office such as cumulative records, transcripts,
and teacher’s grading records, but do not include report cards or other non-controlled
records. If there are conflicts or discrepancies found, they must be examined and resolved
by school officials. Negligence, or failure to make a good faith effort to determine the
accuracy of a student’s records on the part of school officials would require all contests
in which the ineligible student participated to be forfeited.)
In addition, the student will receive a game-for-game penalty to be imposed in the
next school year in the same sport. However, if the student is a senior, this penalty will
apply to the student's next sports season.
3. A school which intentionally uses an ineligible player shall drop the player from the
team, forfeit all games in which he/she participated, and will be ineligible for the playoffs
in that sport. The school may also be debarred from taking part in the contests of
the Association for one year.
A team which participates in the playoffs while using an ineligible player must return
its awards and the revenue from said playoff games to the NCHSAA. Its finish in the
playoffs shall be vacated, even if the playoffs have concluded. A team which lost to
the team with an ineligible player is not advanced in the tournament after the fact.
Once qualifiers have been determined or the seeding process is completed, and teams
or individuals have been placed in the brackets, at no time will another team or individual
be substituted in or added to the playoff brackets for a disqualified team or
individual. If a disqualification occurs after the playoffs have concluded, that place or
position remains vacant.

Anonymous said...

hey i also play for independence, but live in Virginia. Coach knotts filled me in too

Anonymous said...

To the person posting the NCHSAA Rules:

So it just goes to what is "reasonable scrutiny". Well, how is this for "reasonable scrutiny". The Indy player in question (for this particular instance), played defense for Coach Geller at Porter Ridge where I assume Coach Geller used "reasonable scrutiny" to determine that this player was actually located in Monroe when he played for him there. Coach Geller leaves Porter Ridge and goes to Independence. The player follows him to Independence. The player leaves behind the friendly confines of his "reasonably scrutinized" home in Monroe. Now, this is Kelly Lewis begins to "scrutinize". Hmmmm... Is it "reasonable" to maybe "scrutinize" this player who comes in from another county, played for one of his coaches, and lists another address other than his father's (Monroe) or mother's address (Mint Street-Harding district). The new address just so happens to be in the Independence district and is the home of a three decade Indy fan. Why would anyone be suspicious of this? Why would Indy "reasonably scrutinize" this? I can just see the "In" box of transfers into Indy sitting on AD Lewis' desk. Let's see who are in the transfer "In" box: Anthony Carrothers (Vance HS), Rod Chisholm (West Charlotte HS), Raquan Wooden (South Meck HS), the player from Monroe (Porter Ridge HS), and I are sure countless others (please list all others on this blog if you know any). I can hear AD Lewis' comments (though they have been muted by a directive from CMS): "Why shoot, that ‘In’ box was so full I just couldn't ‘reasonably scrutinize’ them all, so I just placed a G O R & E to the "In" sign (Ignore) and waved my "reasonably scrutinized" wand (a gift from Vicki Hamilton) over it and my AD duties were complete, time to go have a donut.”

In your mind, sir or madam, when does the “reasonably scrutinize” line end and the “self imposed ignorance” line begin? Or do they run parallel to each other straight from Mint Hill to CMS downtown.

I have a suggestion for the Indy Program printers, next year why don’t you print the players name, numbers and the schools they transferred from to make it easy for any school to root for a particular player when you are playing for another inspirationally ignorant title.

The one thing that really troubles me about this whole sad affair is at the end of the day what happens to the legitimate kid in the Indy district who may not have the greatest skill level but wants to have his share of the High School experience playing football for his high school. At Indy is this guy cut, dropped so far down the bench so he does not see any playing time, or just discouraged altogether from trying out because Tom Knotts needs to make room for his “un-recruited transfers”. Now why don’t you try to reasonably scrutinize that and explain it to the kid?


Of course your answer to the kid would probably be “why don’t you transfer”.

Peter G.

Anonymous said...

"Now why don’t you try to reasonably scrutinize that and explain it to the kid?"

well actually I am a female. I don't have a child on the IHS football team but i do have a senior at IHS and feeled blessed to have her there. believe it or not there is more to be proud of at IHS than football. so my response to your above question is ... no I wouldn't tell the teen to transfer. I would tell him to stay at IHS and try his best to make the team and if he proves himself to be good enough (as he would have to do at any other high school) then it will be worth it. With all due respect sir, I would like to ask you a question. How would you respond to my daughter if she asked you "Why does everyone hate IHS and they're calling IHS liar, cheater, ignorant and every other degrading name in the book"?
My response to her the last couple of weeks has been, "Honey, IHS students arent the ones being ignorant". Like I said, I'm glad that she goes to a school where most students dont have the "I'm better than you" mentality.

It's not fair what happened to SM but stop blaming IHS.
I hope that you and others can find some kind of peace about this situation and just let it go.

I'm sure some of you will throw daggers but I'm done with responding to these post that are full of hate.

Have a Blessed Christmas. And I really mean that.

Anonymous said...

Peter G. (yeah, right) you note that the AD should have realized that the student had three addresses. It appears obvious no one knew about the mother's address. The statement from the family was that the parents had separated which appears to be true since they do not live together. Or maybe the mother moved residences for football reasons and did not realize she was skipping the Indy district. By the way the address listed for her is in the West Charlotte district. Incorrect info from you does not surprise me.

The same statements (the situation shoud have been caused to recheck the double check) were made about the South Meck AD and the fact that the player in question had attended four different high schools. I do not think the Yokeley's or South Meck were trying to cover up the situation but it is an honest thought that more due diligence would be expected looking at the student's background.

Indy case can be viewed the same. Player did not play at Indy previously so it needs more inspection. If the parent provided a lease in addition to other documents the only thing left is to go to the house every night and do a bedcheck. Prefer we not have that in my America but maybe that is what we need.

Anonymous said...

Langston: Thank you for posting all this. It makes a huge difference in how people understand the situation. Too much had been said on this topic without the facts being clear.

Ultimately, I can't feel too sorry for the Yokeleys. They tried to play the system and ended up hurting a lot of people in the process. CMS athletics isn't a minor league, where you can just switch teams till you find one you're comfortable with.

I do feel sorry for South Meck and specifically Mike Jones, who made a pretty understandable error.

Harold the Coach said...

This whole thing is ridiculous. The bottom line is all of these players (regardless of school) are moving around to get to a system they want to play in. Apparently the CMS eligibility rules are so lax they can do this.

Why not, if a player transfers, he sits out for a year regardless of Public or Private school - UNLESS the player WITH the school petitions NCHSA for a waiver. Thus, they have to get eligibility approval from NCHSA BEFORE playing.

Otherwise, the player is ineligible and any game that player participates in is forfeited. If that game happens to be in the playoffs, the team then forfeits and is OUT of the playoffs.

Stop mincing the words and playing with loopholes. You are either eligible or not.

The three real issues that don’t seem to be talked to in all of this are:
1. Recruiting - It is probably happening and if it isn’t, these loopholes will open the door for it to start.
2. The legitimately eligible kids on a team - They worked hard, played by the rules and are punished in the fallout of all of this. Especially the kid or kids who were replaced by an ineligible one.
3. This whole thing has taken the playoff focus off the field, possibly tainted the end results and made CMS really look silly.

The college transfer and eligibility issues have come to high school. CMS, NCHSA - please fix this now. Stop the bleeding.

Anonymous said...

Langston, thankyou for posting this and reporting the truth in this situation. I especially appreciate how you gave actual quotes from Jimmy Yokeley, and that you didn't have to harrass and stalk his family in order to do so. In order to end said stalking by your co-worker Ryan Basen, Jimmy was nice enough to give him a similar interview explaining the situation. Ryan replied by telling Jimmy that he didn't believe him. Langston, thankyou for displaying professionalism and class in your reporting. It would be greatly appreciated if you could spread your knowledge to Ryan, and explain to him how to properly obtain an interview without tailing someone's car, or harassing a mother battling breast cancer; somehow I just can't believe that this was in Basen's job description. Yes bloggers, Ryan Basen did all of these things. Ryan: I hope that you enjoy seeing your name on the front of the observer, and I strongly suggest you take some much needed advice from Langston. I have moved on from going after a shrimp like you, and I am now focusing on a much bigger cause: Adressing this problem at the CMS level, and getting deserved explanations from Peter Gorman, and Vicki Hamilton who refuse to meet with the South Meck football family. Langston you are the man and congrats on a story well-reported.

Anonymous said...

^ What "explanation" do you want? Yokeley was ineligible. End of story.

Anonymous said...

^ Your ignorance dumbfounds me. There are several explanations that South Meck would like. Independence and West Charlotte had ineligible players, one of which used the West Charlotte AD's grandmother-in laws adress yet that wasn't the "end of their story" that you speak of. Vicki Hamilton's excuse for this is that South was punished differently because it was our AD's fault, not the fault of the individual player as it was at Indy and WC. Anyone with an ounce of common sense knows that a player using the fake address of the AD's grandmother-in law falls under the same category as AD's fault. Was West Charlotte allowed to still play on Friday? YES. Was West Charlotte forced to forfeit their whole season? NO. Why did West Charlotte and Independence get the respect of an investigation while South Meck was forced to immediately forfeit, WITHOUT an investigation? Why did Vicki Hamilton call the Yokeley family and kiss their a** in an hour long phone conversation, yet she does nothing to address the rest of the team, and she publicly accepts no responsibility in mishandling the South Meck situation, by not conducting an investigation? Why did she make the South Meck ruling in a rushed and dictator-like manner, rather than the democratic "thorough investigations" that Indy and WC received? Why does she hide behind CMS spokesperson Nora Carr instead of addressing the media herself, seeing as she is the one in charge of conducting these investigations? These are the explanations that we want. The truth is that Vicki Hamilton and Peter Gorman know that they screwed up in rushing the SM ruling, and by not conducting an investigation. They thought twice before doing the same to Indy and WC, and now they are too cowardly to accept their responsibility in this mistake, and will not meet with SM. After royally botching and mishandling the due process we deserve, and crushing the dreams of so many players, you would think a simple meeting and explanation wouldn't be too much to ask for.

Anonymous said...

People People People ...
Lets fix the problem and move on.
It seems like everyone has a solution. If everyone, that has posted on this and related blogs, would write to your CMS Superintendent and Board of Education or go to a meeting, I believe that you would make a change faster than coming on here and spitting out bitterness.
Stop blaming others that have done nothing wrong.
BITTERNESS. I've read of alot of that lately.

The difficulties of life are intended to make us better, not bitter. Mandie Ellingson


Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Recipe for greatness - To bear up under loss, to fight the bitterness of defeat and the weakness of grief, to be victor over anger, to smile when tears are close, to resist evil men and base instincts, to hate hate and to love love, to go on when it would seem good to die, to seek ever after the glory and the dream, to look up with unquenchable faith in something evermore about to be, that is what any man can do, and so be great.
Zane Grey (1875 - 1939)