Gatesville Vs. Burnet

A Gatesville fan holds up a Hornet Fight Never Dies flag at the conclusion of a game between Gatesville and Burnet at McKamie Field in Gatesville.

Gabe Wolf | Herald

The eligibility for six student-athletes at Gatesville High School was in the hands of the University Interscholastic League executive committee Friday afternoon.

The entire issue — although it was not a legal preceding — came down to one legal term ... hearsay.

A three-person committee and Gary Martell, the mediator and a superintendent from the Moody ISD, held a special UIL executive session Friday at 3:30 p.m. in Georgetown. Six Gatesville students admitted to using what was believed to be performance enhancing drugs earlier in the summer and were suspended by the school for 28 days.

The main factor in the case was whether the local district (Gatesville) should be the governing board to administer the punishment or should the issue go to the District 13-4A executive committee. The UIL regulates athletics and other extracurricular activities in the state of Texas.

“I do not see positive tests for drugs, and what I have heard is based mostly on what people said ... hearsay,” UIL official Martel said. “I have to vote to accept the appeal (on behalf of Gatesville).”

Earlier in the day the UIL District 13-4A committee made up of all six schools voted 3-1 to suspend the six athletes for 30 school days during a meeting Friday morning in Lampasas. Gatesville and Burnet schools did not vote on the issue.

The school district immediately appealed the decision and a hearing was scheduled.

The hourlong hearing before the district executive committee gave those interested a number of new facts.

The six student athletes were injected with was believed to be testosterone in June by a coach and parent following workouts.

The students confessed to Kyle Cooper, Gatesville High’s head football coach and athletic director, in the middle of July.

Cooper immediately suspended the students for 28 days.

The athletes were voluntarily drug tested in late August.

At the state meeting, Gatesville ISD Superintendent Eric Penrod said the coach accused of giving the testosterone resigned two days after the allegations came out.

There seemed to be a difference of opinion on what the UIL told administrators to do. Gatesville attorney Tiger Hanner said he talked to the UIL when the event happened, and was told to take care of the matter at the local school level.

Burnet Superintendent Keith McBurnett said a UIL representative told him it could be a district committee issue. Burnet was the school district that started the investigation, according to members of the committee.

Penrod said the district followed its policies to the letter in the case.

“It is unfortunate because it was such a complex issue ... there was no winner today,” Penrod said after the state executive committee decision Friday afternoon. “It was one of the ugliest situations I have been a part of. We let our emotions get high.”

Penrod said the district will look at their performance enhancing drug policy — now nearly 10 years old — and offer a replacement to the school board.

Gatesville police said Thursday the alleged use of performance enhancing drugs is an open investigation.

jsteers@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7464

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