Since the News & Observer examined how difficult it is for the North Carolina High School Athletic Association to keep a valid record book, the issue has sparked discussion around the state.
Chris Hobbs of the Hickory Daily Record wrote a column shortly after N&O story was published. He wrote new standards are needed for verifying records. And our own J. Mike Blake has given suggestions to help the state association in his column that appeared in the Cary News.
Yet, the NCHSAA has not responded. Rick Strunk, associate commissioner for the state association and editor of the record book, has not spoken about issues regarding the record book or whether Will Cooper’s stats would be adjusted.
Strunk has not been reached for comment after six attempts by the N&O after a week-long period.
“It would not be unprecedented if that number is not right,” Strunk said of Cooper’s stats in April. “If that proves to be inaccurate, then we’ll adjust. The goal is to be as accurate as possible.”
As of now, Cooper, a rising senior quarterback for Broughton, still holds the record at 600 passing yards against Wakefield on Oct. 28. After reviewing videotape of the game, the N&O reported Cooper passed for 585 yards, tying instead of surpassing Charlotte Independence star Chris Leak.
Though Broughton coach Chris Martin sent the same tape along with an Excel spreadsheet of each offensive play to the NCHSAA to verify the record, Strunk said he didn’t have time to review it and approved the record after watching “most of the first quarter.”
“We have our process and I think our process has been consistent over the years,” said Davis Whitfield, commissioner of the state association. “Until our membership feels like we need to have addition steps and requirements to submit records, I think our members are comfortable with our process, and therefore I am comfortable with our process.”
A few days ago I was assigned to cover an American Legion baseball game. One of the players on the North Raleigh Post 297 Black team was Patrick LaGanke. One of his best friends is Cooper, and he asked me a question when I spoke with him about the record book story.
“How can that guy not look at the video?” LaGanke said.
It’s a question some are still asking, which made me think about giving more information about the record book and Cooper. Below are notes we learned during our reporting that were not included in the original story: