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Escambia High School Football program being investigated

Willie Spears has brought excitement and winning back to Escambia High School football, but he's also brought controversy.

Allegations of illegal recruiting have been swirling, and are now coming to a head.

Spears has organized a rally on Tuesday to defend his program.

He says school principal Mike Sherrill told him two days before Saturday's opener that six transfer players could not play.

Spears played them anyway, saying the kids have done nothing wrong.

Spears told us that the school district has been investigating his program, and that principal Sherrill sent a letter to the Florida High School Athletic Association, self reporting violations including the improper contact rule.

Spears says he and his staff have not broken that rule, and have not tried to coerce or entice any players to transfer.

He says all the players live in Escambia's zone, and that winning has made his program attractive to the kids.

36 players have transferred to Escambia in Spears three seasons, but he says many other programs in the area have also had transfers with no repercussions.

Spears tells us that the urging of parents prompted him to organize Tuesday's rally.

Principal Sherrill told us that it is an ongoing investigation, and he cannot comment on any specifics.
He did say that the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) requested additional information mid last week, and he anticipates being able to send them that info sometime this week.

The final decision will be up to the FHSAA.