COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio High School Athletic Association said that a Princeton High School football coach violated two recruiting bylaws when the coach made contact with a student-athlete who was not enrolled in the school's educational program.
The coach, who was not named in the OHSAA's infractions list at the OHSAA board of directors meeting April 22, violated bylaw 4-9-4 No. 3 and bylaw 4-9-6, recruiting, according to the state governing body for high school athletics.
The OHSAA's 2020-21 handbook states that forms of recruiting that are prohibited by the 4-9-4 No. 3 bylaw include but are not limited to "any coach or group of coaches having any contact with prospective student-athletes, except as permitted in bylaw 4-9-3, who are not presently enrolled in the school’s educational program, or their parents, prior to written acceptance notification."
The 4-9-6 bylaw states:
"All questions relating to enrollment, attendance or the athletic program shall be handled through the school administration or the admissions office. If a coach is contacted by a parent or another individual who is advocating for a student, the coach is obligated to immediately disclose this contact to a school administrator and to cease all contact with the prospective student and/or parents until acceptance and/or enrollment into the school where the coach is approved to work."
OHSAA executive director Doug Ute's office acknowledged Princeton High School's self-imposed penalties and corrective actions which include in part a "mutual separation with the coach for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year and forward," according to the OHSAA infractions list.
The coach is no longer on the football staff, according to Princeton City Schools director of communications Tricia Roddy. She said the issues were resolved.
Ute's office also acknowledged other self-imposed penalties/corrective actions from Princeton including:
- The school plans to have the entire football staff attend an OHSAA recruiting seminar at the school's expense
- An overhaul of the school's coaches handbook so that information regarding OHSAA bylaw 4-9 is included.
Ute's office issued the following OHSAA penalties:
- Princeton will be required to pay $200 to cover the cost of the requested recruiting seminar
- The student-athlete shall be eligible for only the first five regular season games during the 2021 football season. He will be ineligible for all remaining regular season games and the OHSAA postseason.
- The student-athlete shall be ineligible for all preseason basketball games and for the first six regular season basketball games of the 2021-22 season.
- Should the offending coach gain employment at a different OHSAA member school for the 2021 season, he shall be ineligible for participation during the 2021 football playoffs.
The OHSAA had an infractions list in late April that included 11 schools who violated OHSAA bylaws or sports regulations.
Princeton (6-2, 6-1 Greater Miami Conference in 2020), led by head coach Andre Parker, opens the season against visiting Anderson (7-3, 4-2 Eastern Cincinnati Conference) Aug. 19.
The OHSAA infraction list in late April also included information that Lakota West High School had a wrestling coach violate general sports regulation 4, failure to acquire a pupil activity permit when he coached in contests without being properly credentialed.
In accordance with GSR 4, the school has been fined $250 and the coach was removed from his position until such a time that he is properly credentialed.
Fairfield High School self-reported a violation of bylaw 1-1-2 and general sport regulation 32.3, competition with students below grade 9, when an eighth-grade student, serving as a team manager, participated in an unspecified number of softball practices with the high school team. Ute's office accepted Fairfield High School’s self-imposed penalty of removing the student from a managerial role with the team and educating the coach.