Former AD and Former Coach Sanctioned Over 2016 Tanking Suggestion

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The former athletic director and football coach serving Dunbar High School in Dayton, Ohio, and who were implicated in a scandal involving a 2016 game, have been reprimanded by the state.

As reported by the Dayton Daily News, Mark Baker, who was the athletic director for Dayton Public Schools at the time and is now a truancy officer, and Darran Powell, who was the Dunbar football coach at the time, were both ordered to take ethics training before being allowed to apply for certifications from the State Board of Education. Baker has added community service requirements, as well.

The actions for Baker and Powell stem from their involvement in an October 2016 game in which Dunbar coaches accused Baker of telling Dunbar to lose to Belmont High School so both teams would qualify for that season's playoffs.

The game also included use of an ineligible player by Dunbar. Dunbar coaches at the time said Baker told them the player was eligible prior to the Belmont game, then said he wasn’t at halftime. That led to the proposal of Dunbar losing on purpose, coaches said.

According to the Daily News, the State Board of Education ordered Baker to complete 16 hours of ethics training and 40 hours of community service before he can apply for any license, certification or permit from the State Board of Education. He is not eligible to apply for those certifications until Sept. 20, 2025. His former pupil activity permit, which was in effect in 2016, was also revoked.

DPS superintendent Elizabeth Lolli said the sanctions would not affect Baker’s job as there are no certifications from the state required to do it.

Powell is required to complete four hours of ethics training before being eligible to apply for his license again. He has since left DPS and did not respond to Daily News requests for comment.

Initially, Powell’s recommended sanctions were much more severe — calling for him to be ineligible until September 2024 and requiring significantly more ethics training to reapply for a license — but the state board cited unspecified “mitigating factors” that caused them to reduce the sanctions.

In a separate document, the mitigating factors included, according to the Ohio Department of Education, that “Mr. Powell was following the directive of the District Athletic Director in encouraging the team to lose the game with the intended result that the ineligible player would not be reported to [the Ohio High School Athletics Association] and/or both teams would end up in the state playoffs.”

The OHSAA didn’t name individuals in its sanctions against the district in 2017 but said administrators were responsible. DPS verbally reprimanded Baker for his involvement in December 2016.

Because of the October 2016 incident, DPS was fined $10,000, and its boys' and girls' sports teams were placed on probation for three years.

At the time, Dunbar’s then-athletic director and boys' basketball coach, Pete Pullen, also resigned from his position. Dunbar did not renew contracts with the football coaches.

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