TSSAA investigates new Gerald Sensabaugh allegations related to Dobyns-Bennett

WASHINGTON COUNTY, TN (WJHL) – The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association is encouraging Dobyns-Bennett High School, if it has any influence over former star player Gerald Sensabaugh, to urge him to stop trying to recruit David Crockett High School players to play football at DB, according to TSSAA Executive Director Bernard Childress.

“You think you’re hurting Crockett but you’re actually hurting DB,” Childress said.

That word of caution comes after DCHS interim Athletic Director John Good recently reported allegations involving the school’s suspended football coach, according to Childress.

“John Good told us about (Gerald Sensabaugh) posting videos encouraging student-athletes to transfer and that he had also taken two student-athletes to Dobyns-Bennett to talk with Coach Graham Clark, but when they got there, Coach Clark would not talk to them. He knew that he could not do that,” Childress said.

Childress praised Coach Clark for his handling of the situation.

“There was no action taken other than us finding out exactly what occurred, us talking to DB and finding out that Coach Clark did the right thing and refused,” Childress said. “Coach Sensabaugh had every intention of violating the rule.”

In a live video posted on his Facebook page Sunday, Sensabaugh encouraged anyone interested to go to DB and even told people he may even be able to help them secure housing.

“If he’s posting videos trying to encourage kids to go to Dobyns-Bennett, the problem is actually going to be with DB if this occurs,” Childress said. “It can’t happen again. It would be a violation on Dobyns-Bennett and if they transferred to DB they would be ineligible.”

The recruiting rule says that if someone that’s connected to your school, whether it’s directly or indirectly associated with the school and they have encouraged those student athletes to come to your school, that’s a violation of the recruiting rule, Childress explained.

Childress said DCHS handled the situation appropriately as well and will now put documentation related to the situation in the school’s file.

“Coach Sensabaugh is still currently our coach just under suspension,” Good said of his reasoning for self-reporting the potential violation. “I wanted to make sure the action of our coaches (does not affect) the eligibility of our current and/or future athletes and/or sport[s] programs.”

When contacted today for comment, Sensabaugh denied bringing players to talk to Coach Clark.

“Coach Clark hasn’t talked to any players,” Sensabaugh said by text. “I didn’t bring players to talk to Coach Clark. Coach Clark has never had any words with anybody from Crockett.”

Washington County Schools suspended DCHS Coach Gerald Sensabaugh earlier this month pending further investigation of unprofessional conduct.

Sensabaugh said he does encourage students to go to DB, but not for sports. Instead, he said it’s all about education.

“I encouraged all students to go to DB if their parents could get a residence,” he said. “Was not about athletes. Any parents that want to move to Kingsport I could help them find a place. Has nothing to do with sports. It’s about education. I will go on record recommending that no one should send their kids to Crockett to go to school. If that violates TSSAA then so be it. I do not support anyone sending their kids to David Crockett.”

Copyright WJHL 2017. All rights reserved.

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