Richland Springs High School’s Jerry Burkhart, a nine-time state championship football coach, received a public censure and a three-year coaching suspension after the UIL State Executive Committee uncovered a recruiting violation.
Richland Springs High School was also found to have violated Section 409 of the UIL Constitution & Contest Rules, and the SEC issued a public censure and a three-year probation to the Class 1A Division II football programme, stopping short of a playoff ban.
Richland Springs assistant coach Shawn Rogers, who was also before the committee meeting in Pflugerville in an appeal of the Aug. 23 16-1A Division II District Executive Committee (DEC) verdict, was found not guilty.
The SEC also refused the appeal of a Richland Springs student-athlete who was deemed by the DEC to have violated Section 443 of the C&CR — relocating for athletic reasons — by moving for athletic purposes. The SEC, on the other hand, did not extend the student-ineligibility athlete’s period beyond one academic year. Only until the 2023-2024 school year may the athlete compete on the junior varsity level.
The SEC is made up of school administrators from around the state, according to the UIL website. Smaller committees are constituted to hear DEC decision appeals. On Monday, committee members present included chairman Mike Motheral, vice chair Johanna Denson, and Paul Galvan.
Dr. Charles Breithaupt, the UIL’s executive director, and Jamey Harrison, the UIL’s deputy director, were also present, however only committee members were entitled to vote on the appeal.
The 14-minute phone conversation between Burkhart and the student-athlete prior to his enrollment at Richland Springs High School was the major focus of the discussion leading up to the SEC’s unanimous (4-0) ruling upholding the DEC decision.
“Great programmes find their own recruits. “People go there because it’s successful,” Breithaupt stated to Burkhart. “You are not required to do it” (recruiting). You stayed on the phone for that long, and it simply doesn’t smell good.”
“I believe the DEC did an excellent job. “The information was persuasive enough for the UIL’s highest officer to accuse you of recruitment,” he said. “I just can’t believe you didn’t know better than to stay on the phone with an athlete from another school, and then not reach out to Mullin and let them know that discussion took happened, and let your supervisor know.” That’s an issue.
“I’m not sure about the other material, but it alone casts you in a negative light,” Breithaupt added.
Sundown ISD Superintendent of Schools Motheral stated, “Major error here, big mistake.” I can’t even go past the 14-minute mark. It leaves no mistake in my mind about what was going on. That is my viewpoint. It young man contacted you; that should have been a 30-second call. You had been on for 14 minutes.”
“So for me, this is a recruitment issue, based on facts and evidence,” the committee chairman added.
A text-message interaction on Aug. 4 between the coach at Mullin — where the student-athlete had attended through his sophomore year and garnered all-state football accolades — and Burkhart was addressed several times in the sworn evidence on Monday.
Galvan, the superintendent of Fort Worth ISD, wanted to know why Burkhart didn’t immediately contact Mullin football coach Brent Williamson when he received the student-phone athlete’s call on Aug. 8, four days after Williamson sent a text message to Burkhart alerting him to a potential violation and four days before the student-athlete enrolled at Richland Springs.
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