DAYTON, OH (WDTN) – Dayton Public Schools is being fined and reprimanded, after an investigation found evidence of collusion to get one of its teams into the playoffs.
The Ohio High School Athletic Association will fine Dayton Public Schools $10,000 and place the district on probation for three years, according to a district spokesperson.
According to an OHSAA press release, the incident occurred during a game between Dunbar and Belmont High School on October 28. Their investigation determined that Dunbar football players received instructions at halftime to lose the game intentionally so that the school would not need to report using an ineligible player and so that an additional Dayton Public School would qualify for the playoffs. Game officials stopped the contest in the third quarter and brought both coaches to midfield, instructing them to tell their players to play the game correctly or risk stoppage of the game and further ramifications.
Dayton Public Schools Director of Athletics Mark Baker emphatically denied these allegations.
“I wouldn’t dare jeopardize that for student athletes,” Baker said.
He told Dayton’s 2 NEWS he found out 15 minutes prior to the game about the ineligible player,
“Once we found out that the kid was ineligible, I actually reached out to the state and do what we call self-reported the incident. That triggered some conversations or investigation into something that was alleged that is untrue,” Baker said.
OHSAA imposing the following sanctions: a $10,000 fine issued to the Dayton Public School District, three years probation for all Dayton Public Schools, public reprimand and the requirement that DPS athletic administrators attend required meetings with the OHSAA compliance staff. In addition, if further violations of the same nature occur while the district is on probation, the membership status of all member Dayton Public Schools is in jeopardy.
The school district released a statement Friday about the incident:
“Dayton Public Schools administrators conducted a full internal investigation following the allegations of wrongdoing that occurred during a football game between Dunbar Early College High School and Belmont High School on October 28, 2016.
Immediate action was taken following the game and reprimands were issued to the appropriate parties. The Dayton Public School district does not take these issues lightly, especially when our students are impacted. The ineligible player should not have played as instructed by administrators. We are taking specific measures to ensure that this does not occur again.
The finding of OHSAA draws necessary attention to our need to ensure compliance and proper training in ethics and sportsmanship for all Dayton Public Schools’ coaches and administrators.
At the heart of this unfortunate finding are our student athletes who deserve the most honest and competent leadership we can provide them. I assure Superintendent Ross, OHSAA, and the Dayton community, of my firm commitment to putting students first, and providing those students with highly qualified academic and athletic leadership.”
Superintendent Rhonda A. Corr, Dayton Public Schools