Walnut Hills football coach Brian Lainhart out amid accusations of recruiting violations

CINCINNATI -- Brian Lainhart is out as the Walnut Hills head football coach.

Lainhart has concluded his coaching duties at Walnut Hills in light of new allegations by the Ohio High School Athletic Association regarding evidence of recruiting violations, according to Cincinnati Public Schools.

There are also issues regarding his request for a Pupil Activities Permit with the Ohio Department of Education, according to the OHSAA.

"We've been investigating allegations into the coach for some time now," OHSAA spokesman Tim Stried said.

Lainhart declined comment when reached by WCPO.com early Wednesday night.

The OHSAA allegations involve evidence that Lainhart improperly sent text messages and otherwise improperly contacted students from other high school teams in an apparent effort to recruit them, according to a statement from CPS.

"These are serious violations and clearly against the rules," said Joshua Hardin, Cincinnati Public Schools Athletics Manager. "We certainly do not condone this behavior, and it is disappointing that it occurred."

Coaches at CPS high schools are hired for the season in which they work. Lainhart has concluded his coaching duties for this school year's coaching season, according to the district.

Lainhart was issued a Certificate of Qualification for Employment in November 2015. He re-filed a request for a Pupil Activities Permit with the Ohio Department ofEducation in February 2016.

The OHSAA bylaws mandate a permit must be on file in order to coach a sport under the state's high school sports governing body.

In a CPS statement April 2, the district said it understood that current legal discussions with the ODE are ongoing regarding the status of that permit request and that his coaching status for future seasons would be evaluated following resolution of the discussions with ODE.

Stried said Wednesday afternoon the OHSAA has not seen evidence of the permit on file with the ODE.

The OHSAA plans to send a media release about the situation in the coming days.

The district has not named a new head football coach after Wednesday's news. Hardin told WCPO.com Wednesday night that Walnut Hills is working on naming an interim coach this week as soon as possible.

Lainhart, a former Colerain standout safety, was named the Walnut Hills coach Dec. 22, 2015. He brought a renewed energy in his first year with the program.

Several Walnut Hills players have earned college scholarship offers within the past year. Lainhart has prided himself on helping his players earn college football opportunities.

The program has also prided itself on its weight room and offseason conditioning since early 2016.

"Coach Lainhart has been a real motivator – it's been an incredible ride so far," Walnut Hills Athletic Director Tom Donnelly said in April 2016.

Donnelly did not immediately return a phone message Wednesday afternoon from WCPO.com.

Prior to Walnut Hills, Lainhart was the St. Xavier cornerbacks coach in 2014 and 2015.

He played on Colerain's famed 2004 Division I state championship team as a junior. That Colerain team is regarded as one of the best in Greater Cincinnati prep football history.

Walnut Hills was 2-8 in 2015. The Eagles were 4-6 in 2016 after starting the season 4-0.

The Eagles will move up to Division I in 2017. This is due to an increase in enrollment numbers from the Ohio Department of Education.

Walnut Hills, which has multiple players with major scholarship offers, is scheduled to play Lakota East in the season opener Aug. 26 at Nippert Stadium as part of the 20th annual Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown.

The Walnut Hills schedule also includes a road game at reigning state champion St. Xavier Week 3.

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