SEABROOK – Days before the start of the 2019 football season, Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) officials confirmed that Charles H. Flowers High School Head Football Coach Dameon Powell has been suspended for one year while three members of his coaching staff are under review after reports of his team participating in an illegal practice.
Local television outlet Fox 5 reported on Aug. 30 that Powell held an illegal practice at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia in early August. Following the trip, players received a questionnaire about their visit, which confused parents, according to the report.
Flowers will also forfeit one game this season as punishment for the illegal practice, according to PGCPS Spokesperson Raven Hill.
The Maryland Public Secondary Athletic Association (MPSSAA) rules handbook states that teams are not allowed to practice “beyond the parameters of the sports season.” By definition, teams can only practice from the first day of practice until the end of the state championships. This year, the first day of official practices was Aug. 14.
The date of the practice is unknown at this time. It is also unclear if the visit to the university was a part of a camp, which is also against MPSSAA guidelines for member schools to participate in.
According to the handbook, the minimum penalty for the infraction is a forfeited game with the possibility of additional sanctions against players and coaches involved.
In a letter that was sent to parents on Aug. 26, School Principal Dr. Gorman Brown wrote that Assistant Coach Fred Groves will serve as the acting head coach for the whole season. Parents and players met with school officials to address the situation on Aug. 28. The letter did not state if any players were also punished due to the incident.
“As always, our focus remains on supporting our student-athletes and ensuring their safety on the field and in the classroom,” Brown said.
The Jaguars participated in a scrimmage with Landon School that ended early once Powell’s status as head coach was confirmed, according to the Fox 5 report.
Flowers became the second state football program to be cited with participating in an illegal practice this calendar year. Damascus High School in Montgomery County will forfeit one game this season after holding an illegal offseason practice in May.
Powell was entering his fourth season in charge of the Jaguars following back-to-back undefeated regular seasons and leading Flowers to the regional championship game last year. He was recently named the head coach of Team Maryland’s Big 33 all-star team. Powell has not released a statement or comment about the situation.
The location of the illegal practice, Shepherd University, has become a popular destination for state students to receive a scholarship to play football. According to their 2019 roster, 68 players on their 2019 roster come from Maryland, with six players coming from Prince George’s County. The Rams play in the second division of the NCAA.
Flowers were scheduled to play an away game against Oxon Hill on Sept. 6 but school and county school officials did not clarify if the game will be played due to the punishment.
As of Sept. 2, County Athletic Supervisor Earl Hawkins and Flowers Athletic Director Carlyle Rose have not responded to a request to comment.