In an Austin hearing this morning, a ruling by the State Executive Committee of the University Interscholastic League resulted in Ozen Panthers’ Football Coach Jeff Nelson being suspended for the first two games of the coming season and the entire Ozen football program placed on probation until January 2016.
Nelson said he is devastated by the ruling which contends he violated Section 19 of the Texas Administrative Code 76.1001 by allowing the Panthers to practice during school hours in preparation for last season’s playoff game against Crosby High School. “I was unaware that this practice was a violation of UIL policy. We do have an athletic period and because of testing that week, class schedules had been modified. I am crushed and this is a tough blow to our staff, team and the entire Ozen family,” he added.
Beaumont Independent School District Athletic Director Rodney Saveat is clearly disappointed. “We will do what champions do—we will get through this, too. In the meantime, in the next few weeks, I am dedicating a full day of training for all BISD coaches, assistant coaches, trainers and other athletic staff on UIL rules, policies and guidelines. Additionally, I will be inviting UIL staff to assist us in some of the training. Furthermore, my intent is for the training to be ongoing with regular updates and refreshers throughout the year,” he explained.