Advocate made open records request
Julie Lair, one of two co-athletic directors at Lincoln, noted the violation in a letter to The Advocate-Messenger stating the school's response to a request for information under Kentucky's Open Records Act.
"Coach Jackson violated the summer dead period. The violation was reported to the KHSAA," Lair said in her letter to The Advocate-Messenger.
Lair did not specify what the violation was, and Lincoln principal Ty Howard also declined to do so Tuesday, saying school officials have been told by the school's legal counsel not to discuss the matter further.
However, Tackett said the KHSAA's involvement began with an anonymous letter to the association which alleged that a dead period violation had occurred. Tackett said he then called school officials, whom he said were previously unaware of the violation. He said Lair told him the school would investigate the allegation promptly.
"I recall the conversation when I talked to Julie, and I said, 'We have a question about the dead period,'" Tackett said Tuesday. "She called back and said, 'We may have a little issue.'"
School imposed suspension
Lair's letter said the school imposed the one-game suspension after conversations with the KHSAA.
However, that wasn't clear at the time Jackson served his suspension. Jackson sat out Lincoln's season-opening game Dec. 2 at Wayne County. The next day, Steve Ralston, Lincoln's other co-athletic director, said Jackson served a "self-imposed suspension" and that it was not a penalty levied by the school. Howard would not explain why Ralston had not given an accurate account of the reason earlier when asked about it.
Lincoln Supt. Teresa Wallace said in a letter to The Advocate-Messenger that "no such communication or documentation exists" about the suspension. However, Lair's letter said the request for records was being denied on the advice of Lincoln's school board attorney.
Jackson has declined to comment on the matter.
Both Lair and Tackett said all of the communication between them was verbal, and Lair said in her letter that no written record of the conversation exists.
"At this point, there doesn't need to be," Tackett said. "They told us verbally that they found the problem and they addressed it."
Suspension consistent with similar violations
Tackett said the KHSAA has not received a required written report detailing a rules violation. However, he said procedures followed by Lincoln officials and by the KHSAA staff are typical, and he said the association encourages institutional control by its member schools.
"Self-enforcement by the schools is what's supposed to happen," Tackett said. "It happens all the time, because we don't have the staff to report on every single finding that comes in. When they disagree with our findings is when we get involved a lot of times."
Tackett said that wasn't the case in this instance. He said Jackson's one-game suspension was consistent with penalties imposed for similar violations.
"That's pretty standard unless there's a disagreement," he said. "My point to (Lair) was had it been sent in here, that's what the penalty would have been anyway. I don't need to go out looking for work for us."
Lincoln had another dead period violation involving its boys basketball program several years ago under former coach Mark Upchurch, but Tackett said that had no bearing on this case. He said the KHSAA retains records for the current school year plus the four previous years, and the first violation was prior to that.