Attorney threatens lawsuit over former UT commit's ineligibility to play high school football
CLINTON (WATE) - An attorney is asking the principal of Lenoir City High School to send a letter to the TSSAA in order to restore eligibility for former UT commit Jaylond Woods to play football his senior year at Clinton High School or else face a lawsuit.
Attorney Greg Isaacs says Woods transferred from Lenoir City High School in April in order to live with his mother in Clinton for a variety of reasons including safety.
Isaacs says according to the TSSAA Bylaws, a transfer student is eligible to play football the first time the student changes residence from a guardian to either or both parents as long as the principal of the former school writes a letter saying the transfer was not for academic or disciplinary reasons.
Instead, Isaacs says Athletic Director Greg Boling wrote a letter in July to the TSSAA saying, in part, that while Woods didn't leave LCHS for athletic reasons, he was not in good academic standing and was a discipline issue. The letter states that Woods had served a five-day out of school suspension prior to his withdrawal and was on a discipline contract that his next offense would result in him being place in alternative school.
The TSSAA interpreted the letter to mean that Woods had transferred for disciplinary reasons and ruled he was ineligible to play football at Clinton High School.
Isaacs says Woods' academic file doesn't reflect that he was under any discipline at the time he transferred schools, and that an investigation by his office determined he had no significant disciplinary issues during his entire time at LCHS.
Woods racked up a number of high statistics during his sophomore and junior years at LCHS. He was ranked the nation's number 73 athlete and was the number 23 overall prospect from the state of Tennessee in the 247Sports Composite for the 2015 class.
Woods received a scholarship offer from Clemson, but turned it down to commit to the University of Tennessee for the 2015 season.
He was decommitted after it was determined he was ineligible to play football his senior year in high school.
Isaacs says Boling's July letter constitutes libel, slander and defamation and that Woods has suffered significant harm to his professional and personal reputations, as well as monetary damage in the forms of loss of future earnings and scholarships. Isaacs alleges that the unsolicited letter, as it was sent by the athletic director and not the principal, was created after the fact to give a false impression to the TSSAA.
Isaacs is asking the principal of Lenoir City High School to send a letter to the TSSAA to restore Woods' eligibility, or else he may file a lawsuit against Lenoir City Schools and Athletic Director Greg Boling for defamation.
Council for Lenoir City Schools Chris McCarty says he cannot comment on the letter, but denies any wrongdoing by the school.