Football Recruiting Scandal, Bullying Alleged in Fairfax

Sravan Gannavarapu & Asra Q. Nomani | June 25, 2024

(Fairfax County Times) — This past spring, local mother Regina Dorsey noticed a change in her 16-year-old son shortly after he was abruptly removed from an iPhone group chat for the football team at Hayfield Secondary School in Alexandria. Concerned, Dorsey met with Hayfield’s principal, Darin Thompson, only to get blunt responses that didn’t answer her questions.

Thompson told her that her son had been removed from the chat because he allegedly hadn’t signed a “social media waiver,” a new rule imposed by the recently appointed head football coach, Daryl Overton. Overton, known for his success at Freedom High School in Prince William County, had announced on Feb. 13 that he would take over the football program at Hayfield. Overton said he would be working daily as a security guard at Hayfield.

He arrived at Hayfield amid high expectations but has quickly become a center of controversy, according to sources, including demands for a “donation” from a “Team Mom/Manager” who said she had worked for six years with Overton at Freedom High School. Later, Overton promoted a fundraiser on the online platform that raised an estimated $29,630. The Fairfax County Times interviewed numerous sources for this story, and they asked to remain anonymous, afraid of retaliation against them or their children.

In an interview, Overton denied the allegations of impropriety and said they were an angry mother’s grievances. “This is nothing, but the lady upset that she couldn’t be team mom.” He added: “I do everything I do with high integrity.”

Overton said he intentionally didn’t have parents as “team moms.” “I don’t want anyone that has kids on the team as our team mom because if they don’t get playing time, I don’t want the kid acting funny towards his position,” he said.

“I’m not upset,” said Dorsey. “I offered my services as a team mom before, and that’s when I found out that Ms. Sarah had been with Coach Overton for the past six years. If I was mad, why would I volunteer to provide him with all the contacts that I had?”

An FCPS spokeswoman said,“We are aware of these concerns and have been conducting a thorough, confidential investigation, which is still underway.”

Thompson had apparently recruited Overton to boost the profile of the school’s football team. On the social media platform X, known as Twitter, Thompson identifies himself in his bio as “Lover of Sports” and a “#WashingtonCommanders” football fan. Overton said, “They advertised for a job. I interviewed for the job. I got the job.”

Overton said he left Freedom High School, much like other winning coaches have left other winning programs. “Bobby Knight left Indiana. That happens,” he said, referring to the coach who led Indiana University to 902 NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball game wins.

However, as the Hayfield High School mother, Dorsey, delved deeper, she uncovered a troubling pattern, one that many other members of the Fairfax County community were also starting to realize, including charges of verbal abuse, bullying, and a wave of transfers into the football program, allegedly orchestrated by Overton and his new staff.

A source told the Fairfax County Times, “This is the biggest HS recruiting scandal in the history of our state,” adding, “It’s blatant cheating.”