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Texas has issued a playoff ban to the San Marcos High School football team over recruiting allegations

After rescinding a 2-year playoff ban for the San Marcos High School football team amid allegations of illegal recruiting, the University Interscholastic League chose to suspend the program from the playoffs for the 2023-24 season.

The UIL HS Football executive committee handed down that decision and others against two coaches in the program during a meeting Tuesday. Head football coach John Walsh was issued a five-game suspension and assistant coach Lee Vallejo can’t coach for two years and was issued three years probation. Vallejo’s suspension begins this year since the school district has already suspended him for his role, so the SEC added an extra year and he’ll be eligible to coach in 2024-25.

Vallejo is listed as the football team’s offensive coordinator and also an assistant coach on the boys track and field team.

The one-year playoff ban is in addition to the three years probation and public reprimands for Walsh and another district employee the committee decided on earlier in October. A press release from the UIL said the sanctions were for violations of Section 409 of its constitution regarding recruiting. The section reads, “Recruiting is not only a violation by the student who has been recruited, but it is also a violation by the school and/or the school district personnel who recruited the student. It is a violation to recruit at all grade levels.

The SMCISD Board of Trustees will discuss the issue during a meeting Thursday, the statement said.

Allegations of illegal recruiting surfaced in August when a district executive committee recommended a 2-year playoff ban that the UIL initially accepted. Through an appeals process, the UIL temporarily lifted the playoff ban, but reserved the right to impose other sanctions as the SEC reviewed more information and heard testimony about what happened.

A spokesperson for San Marcos CISD told KXAN in August that the issue was a group of athletes that played youth football together, and then joined the district. The district has denied taking part in recruiting practices outside of district boundaries.

The athletes in question all played together for the Texas Seminoles, a young football organization based in San Antonio.

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