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Utah Whistleblower Hotline

Competing high schools blow whistle on state champion Copper Hills High School’s drill team

Copper Hills High School Drill TeamIn a Christensen & Jensen (“C&J”) case, several competing high schools and parents have blown the whistle on the Copper Hills High School’s drill team, alleging that the drill team cheated to win the 5A State Championship in February, 2016.  In response to those allegations, the Utah High School Activities Association (“UHSAA”) has placed the Copper Hills drill team on probation, finding that the drill team broke the rules regarding changes to their music between the regional and state competitions.  Additionally, the UHSAA panel fined Copper Hills High School $1,500 and suspended the Copper Hills drill team coach from attending the first drill team competition next season.

C&J’s Scot Boyd and Nate Alder Represents Bingham High Parents

C&J attorneys Scot A. Boyd and Nathan D. Alder represent the parents of the Bingham High School drill team in the matter.  During the panel hearing in front of the UHSAA, Bingham’s drill team coach said, “Unfortunately, there wasn’t an even playing field this year as rules were broken.”

Copper Hills Drill Team Violated Rule Regarding a Change in Music

In addition to private meetings with judges, other drill teams and parents alleged that Copper Hills broke the rules by changing their costumes and editing their music between the regional and state competitions.  Principal for Bingham High School said, “There was percussion [added to music] for a much greater effect and a dramatic ending.”

UHSAA rules specifically provide that “no alterations are allowed” in music, costuming, or choreography except for 16 total counts.

The Bingham and Brighton High School drill teams filed official protests during the competition, but Copper Hills was still crowned as the 5A State Champions.  Copper Hills High School’s principal said their drill team won because they did not in fact cheat.  “I absolutely stand by my coach.  She would do nothing to jeopardize a state championship,” said the Copper Hills principal.

UHSAA’s Decision

At the close of the UHSAA panel hearing, the panel ruled as follows:

  • Determined Copper Hills Drill music was indeed altered between the regional and state competitions
  • Decided there was insufficient evidence that the Copper Hills coach ‘engaged in undue influence with the judges’ but that her actions indicated she had also ‘failed to avoid the appearance of impropriety’
  • Determined there was no change in Copper Hill Drill’s costume between the regional and state competitions
  • Decided to fine Copper Hills High School $1,500 and to suspend the Copper Hills coach from attending the first competition of next season. Both she and the school are on ‘probation.’

Contact Our Whistleblower Team Today

If you or someone you know has information about potential cheating or other misconduct as it relates to high school athletics or other activities, please do not hesitate to contact our whistleblower team for a consultation.  Potential whistleblowers should be encouraged by the UHSAA’s efforts to curb the abuses like those perpetrated by Copper Hills High School.  For more information on the Copper Hills drill team case, read here and watch here.

* Photo Cred.: copperhillssb.blogspot.com

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