ABC Evening News for Thursday, Nov 23, 1978
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(Studio) Thanksgiving noted to signal end of high school football season. Report with regard to pro nature of some high school football games.
REPORTER: Max Robinson
(Thomaston, Georgia) Popularity of football in Thomaston, Georgia, described. University of Alabama running back Joe Jones mentioned as former Thomaston player who has been redshirted 1 year at Alabama and also spent extra year playing junior high school football in Georgia, in order to improve playing skills. Limitations on HS football eligibility by Georgia high school Athletic Association stated and lack of association's jurisdiction over junior high school playing time reported Practice of some coaches, players and their parents of having boy repeat jr high school grade in order that he may improve skills before being limited to certain amount of eligibility time detailed. Ex. given is Thomaston's Coach Tommy Perdue, of Robert E. Lee Institution, and junior high school player Tommy Odom, who chose with parents' permission to repeat 8th grade, despite passing grades. [School board chairperson Neil HIGHTOWER - knows of 2 or 3 repeaters. Says same situation could be found in other Georgia towns.] [PERDUE - gives reasons for asking boy to repeat grade.] [ODOM - says some think it was his worst decision, but he doesn't. Reason he stayed back is to try to get sports scholarship.] NEA (National Education Association) spokesperson's statement about practice given. Georgia department of education spokesperson's report that he would oppose such practice if taxpayers had to subsidize extra years of school. Cost of extra years being spent in school by repeaters on Robert E. Lee high school and junior high school teams stated. Lack of controversy over practice in Thomaston because final decision is up to parents mentioned. [HIGHTOWER - says reporter has made more of situation than townspeople.]
REPORTER: Bob Brown