Senior football player sidelined for school eligibility dispute
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -
An area high school football player has been called the best player on the team even though he has yet to step foot on the field this season.
Dorell Baugh is a 17-year-old senior running back at Hillsboro High School. He is also the team's captain and undisputed leader.
"He's our honoree captain on the field," Coach Craig Clayton said. "He is a quality kid."
Clayton told Nashville's News 2 Investigates that Dorell could easily play college football next year, however that likely will not happen due to an eligibility issue involving two Metro high schools.
"Really because he is a senior he got an athletic death penalty," Clayton said.
According to Clayton, Dorell's chances of playing college football are slim because he does not have game footage from this season to show to potential college scouts.
"It's affecting me scholarship wise because I can't get into the big schools without senior film," Baugh told Nashville's News 2 Investigates.
Last year, Dorell went to Hillwood High School where he got into some fights.
According to his father, Deon Brown, Dorell was suspended and was told at the end of the year he could not return.
After receiving the news, Dorell moved in with his father who lives in the Hillsboro school district.
Since moving, Deon says his son is a changed young man.
"I see the frustration on his face. I have heard him in his room crying. He can't play, he [doesn't] know why," he said. "These are teenagers we are talking about. They are all going to make mistakes. I told him to learn from this. Hopefully this will make you a better human being."
He continued, "He is very different now. He is looked upon as a leader on the team. The kids on the team looked at him as a leader from day one."
To play football this year, Section 12-G of the TSSAA requires that Dorell's former principal must send a letter that states the student is not changing schools for either athletic or disciplinary reasons.
"The principal never wrote a letter to the TSSAA," TSSAA assistant executive director Matt Gillespie said. "Our bylaws require, for the first time a student transfers, we have to have a court order and the letter from the principal attesting in writing the move was not for athletic or disciplinary reasons."
Gillespie continued, "He did not submit that letter, the move in that principal's eyes, and I don't want to put words in his mouth, but it was for disciplinary reasons and that is why that letter was not submitted. If the school does not submit, we don't run an investigation. That is up to the schools not us."
Nashville's News 2 Investigates obtained documents from Assistant Superintendent of Student Services Tony Majors.
Majors wrote on October 8, "[Principal] Steve Chauncy chose to revoke the student's special transfer due to the student's failure to maintain appropriate conduct while enrolled at Hillwood High School.
According to Majors, he said, "I attest Dorell Baugh was not expelled from Hillwood High School for violations of the MNPS student code of conduct."
In a letter dated August 2, 2012, Dr. Chauncy wrote, "Hillwood has no intention of providing any specific explanation in writing of why Dorell's special transfer was revoked. I suggest this matter be taken up with the MNPS student assignment office. I further suggest a review of TSSAA eligibility guidelines be closely reviewed to allow your athletic director or athletic coaches to make an informed decision on the eligibility status of this student for athletic participation. This communication will close Hillwood's involvement in this matter"
School Spokesperson Olivia Brown added, "Everyone at both schools wants what is best for this student. And by all accounts, he is doing very well at Hillsboro."
Calls to the Hillwood principal by Nashville's News 2 Investigates remain unreturned.
Coach Clayton added he is hopeful he can still get a college coach interested in Dorell, perhaps on the junior college level.