Jermone Bowser Jr., pending residency paperwork, will be eligible to play for the John Tyler Lions football team, the University Interscholastic League announced on Tuesday.

Tyler ISD appealed the ruling of the District 7-5A Division I executive committee who declared Bowser ineligible for changing schools (Whitehouse to JT) for athletic purposes.

The State Executive Committee of the UIL granted the appeal for varsity eligibility for Bowser, who played at Whitehouse High School last year. It was a unanimous decision by the committee.

Also, students from Manor and Spring Westfield won their appeals.

After hearing testimony from all parties at the Austin Marriot North in Round Rock, it was determined that these students did not change schools for athletic purposes, the UIL said in an email. The hearings were broadcast on NFHS Network.

John Tyler football coach Ricklan Holmes and Tyler ISD athletic director Greg Priest were hopeful of Bowser’s eligibility entering the hearing. Both Holmes and Priest said the appeal was approved pending the residency waiver. Priest said moving for athletic purposes was overturned.

Bowser is a 5-10, 175-pound senior who plays wide receiver and defensive back. His father, Jermone Bowser Sr., is a coach for the Lions. His mother is a nurse for the Tyler ISD. The Bowsers live in Whitehouse but are employees of Tyler ISD.

Mr. and Mrs. Bowser and their son testified as did Whitehouse ISD athletic director Adam Cook and Wildcats head football coach Marcus Gold, along with Holmes and Priest.

Mesquite ISD athletic director Kody Groves also testified at the hearing as chairman of the District 7-5A Division I executive committee. He said the initial vote was 3-3 declaring Bowser ineligible on July 31. Groves said during the hearing that he was surprised it was not a unanimous decision to allow Bowser to play at JT because of family reasons.

The committee, along with UIL Deputy Director Dr. Jamey Harrison, commended the Bowsers, and both Tyler and Whitehouse officials for their testimonies and working through the process.

Student-athletes from Round Rock Cedar Ridge High School, Bay City High School, Tomball High School and two student-athletes from Midland Lee High School were denied appeals for varsity eligibility, upholding the previous rulings of the district executive committees.


The John Tyler 1994 Class 5A Division II state football championship team will be honored on Friday, Oct. 11 at Christus Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium, Holmes said.

The Lions will face West Mesquite that night with kickoff set for 7 p.m.

Members of the 1994 team should contact the Tyler ISD Athletic Office (903-262-3080) to reserve two complimentary tickets and confirm your attendance.


Sports Editor

I am a native Tylerite and I grew up reading the Tyler Morning Telegraph and The Tyler Courier-Times. My parents took both the morning and afternoon papers. I came to work here 35 years ago at the age of 23, right after college.

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