ABC-7 has learned that the Eastwood High School football team has been placed on probation for three years after it admitted one of their coaches used a cell phone to record plays during a football game.
The use of cell phones by coaches for recording and viewing during a game or at halftime is a violation of the rules set forth by the University Interscholastic League (UIL).
Eastwood High School self-reported the violation to the District Executive Committee of the UIL, a committee that consists of principals and athletic directors from all the El Paso high schools in District 1-6A.
The violation occurred on October 20th during Eastwood's varsity game against Americas.
The game was played at the Socorro Student Activities Complex. Eastwood was victorious in that contest by a final of 35-17.
During the game, allegations were brought to the attention of Eastwood Principal David Boatright that an Eastwood coach was using a cell phone to record plays from the press box.
Boatright directed Eastwood coaches to put their phones away for the remainder of the game.
The following week, district officials were sent a video that showed Eastwood football coach Nick Ortega using his cell phone to record plays during the first half of the game.
Ortega is a football coach for Eastwood's freshman team.
The video was taken by football coaches from Pebble Hills who happened to be in the same press box with Ortega at the time.
The Pebble Hills coaches were at the game scouting Eastwood, a team they would play the following week.
At the District Executive Committee's meeting on October 26th, Eastwood self-reported its violation and even reprimanded themselves by banning their coaches from using the press box for the remaining three games of the season.
During the meeting more details were revealed about the incident.
Ortega went before the committee and admitted to using the cell phone to record video, but he denied sharing any information with other coaches.
Ortega said he has bad eye sight and that he uses the phone to zoom in on each play while he works on a charting sheet.
That entails him to log all the downs and the distance of each defensive play.
He added that he deletes every video after each drive and even though he does wear a headset, he never communicates with any of the coaches and he doesn't go to the locker room at halftime.
Ortega said he didn't know that what he was doing was against UIL rules.
Eastwood head football coach Julio Lopez accepted responsibility and he went on to tell the committee he plans to get additional training for his staff and that he will work with Principal Boatright to ensure everyone is aware of UIL regulations.
The committee did not force Eastwood to forfeit its win against Americas, but it did vote to place the football program on probation for 3 years.
During that time Eastwood will be closely monitored and the program will have to make sure it complies with all UIL guidelines.
In a statement to ABC-7, the Ysleta School District said, "The Ysleta Independent School District and Eastwood High School have respectfully accepted the DEC's ruling, and will comply fully with the terms of the probation."