Fri., October 12, 2012 4:01pm (EDT)

Southern Georgia's Own Football 'Spygate'
By Jonathan Heeter
Updated: 2 years ago

MACON, Ga.  —  
(photo: Ed Yourdon via Flickr)
(photo: Ed Yourdon via Flickr)
Georgia high school coaches say they’re dismayed, if not surprised by an alleged cheating scandal involving football powerhouse Lowndes County. It's Southern Georgia’s own version of “spygate.”

Coaches generally try to get an edge any way they can, but some think a disgruntled former Colquitt County coach went too far when he allegedly used binoculars to spy on his old team.

A video shows Buzz Payne relaying Colquitt’s play calls to the Lowndes coaching staff during a game. Lowndes won 17-14.

Macon's Central High coach Jesse Hicks says he regularly phones his counterparts at other schools to gather intelligence on upcoming opponents. “I don’t think that’s a no no," he said.

But when coaches give away inside information about their former employers, "that’s a little bit different,” Hicks said.

Still, Lowndes was cleared of any wrongdoing this week following an investigation by the Georgia High School Association.

The GHSA says it doesn’t have any rule prohibiting what the team did, and any complaint against Payne, who now works for Thomas County schools, would have to go through the Georgia Professional Standards Commission.

Jonathan Heeter reports for The Telegraph of Macon


Contributors: Adam Ragusea