Kentucky HS Coach Blows Whistle on Shady Recruiting

Andy Berg Headshot

A former Pike Central High School (Ky.) assistant principal and boys’ basketball coach has filed a civil lawsuit alleging a local business owner was orchestrating an illegal recruiting system.

According to Keith May’s filing with the Pike County Circuit Court, which was reported by the Appalachian News-Express, he “observed, brought to the attention of co-employees, and to the superintendent of schools, various violations of the Bylaws of KHSAA including Bylaws relative to improper games, dead period violations, eligibility rules for players, recruiting violations, school attendance policy violations and other violations of the regulations of the KHSAA.”

According to a deposition May gave to the school’s attorney in October, May alleges that Kentucky BCI Basketball owner David Clevenger was allowed onto the school property despite previous questioning by teachers about his role at the school. According to the News-Express, Clevenger is not an employee of the school or the school district, but his wife does work as a cook at Pike Central, according to May’s deposition.

May said that Clevenger was at 90 percent of the Pike Central basketball practices, which he reported to the assistant superintendent, but nothing changed. May was told by school administrators that Clevenger was just a “good booster” for the school. According to filings with the KHSAA Pike Central doesn’t a booster club registered for its basketball program.

KHSAA Bylaw 16 states that booster club parents, members and booster club representatives are considered school representatives. The bylaw also states that if impermissible recruiting is suspected, “a coach or staff member (paid or unpaid) should immediately refer the person(s) to the school principal.”

May reported to the principal that he had concerns about one basketball player that he suspected was illegally recruited from a neighboring school. May said he was approached later by the player’s father, who asked him where the car was that he had been promised if his son agreed to play for Pike Central. The student eventually left the school three or four days after may rebuffed the father.

The deposition details additional instances of illegal recruiting practices, including one international student and basketball player who went to live with Clevenger. May alleges that student eventually approached him in his role as assistant principal, asking if he could “get him out of the Clevenger’s house.”

May’s suit contends that his reporting of violations to his superiors led to Pike High School releasing him from both his position as coach and assistant principal. May was the basketball coach from at Pike Central from 2014-2016 and served as assistant principal from 2016-17.

The case is set to go before a Pike Circuit Judge on Friday, Feb, 23.

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