The Georgia High School Association has ruled Valdosta High School quarterback Jake Garcia, one of the country's top prospects and a USC commitment, ineligible after he and his father moved from California to play his senior year, sources told ESPN on Tuesday.
Valdosta High School and Garcia's family plan to appeal the decision, the sources said. The GHSA ruled that Garcia and his family didn't make a bona fide move to Valdosta.
In a story published by ESPN earlier this month, Garcia's father, Randy, said that he and his wife, Yvonne, legally separated to meet the GHSA's transfer requirements.
For a transfer student to be immediately eligible under GHSA rules, he or she must make a "bona fide move," in which the "student moved simultaneously with the entire parental unit or persons he/she resided with at the former school, and the student and parent(s) or persons residing with the student live in the service area of the new school."
Garcia missed the Wildcats' past two games after injuring a hamstring in the opener against Warner Robins High on Sept. 4. He passed for 339 yards and two touchdowns in the Wildcats' 28-25 victory.
It wasn't immediately known if Valdosta High would have to forfeit that game.
Garcia, the No. 18 player in the ESPN 300, is expected to enroll at USC in January. He moved to Valdosta after high school football in California was pushed back to at least December because of the coronavirus pandemic.
A spokesman for the Georgia High School Association told ESPN earlier this month that more than 80 transfer waivers had been approved for out-of-state students, not all specifically for football.
"It's once in a lifetime," Randy Garcia, a former Nebraska quarterback, told ESPN recently. "He's got one senior year. He wants to play -- it's important for him. It was a no-brainer for us. And, unfortunately, there's a lot of parents that can't [move]. It's really sad. There's a lot of studs in a lot of these states that are just going to sit out. They're not going to play, and it's just not fair."