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Ohio HS Punished Over Donor-Funded Scholarships

Paul Steinbach

The Ohio High School Athletic Association has punished Walsh Jesuit High School in Cuyahoga Falls for recruiting violations involving donor-funded sports scholarships for 11 athletes in girls' soccer and wrestling.

As reported by the Akron Beacon Journal, the violations were self-reported to OHSAA in December and resulted in the immediate termination of longtime girls' soccer coach Dino McIntyre. The private school also suspended wrestling coach David Mariola Jr. earlier this season and reinstated him two weeks ago.

The OHSAA announced Thursday that Walsh Jesuit “self-reported a violation of Bylaw 4-9, Recruiting, when individuals within its athletic department obtained monies from outside donors and provided scholarships to students based on athletic participation.” The bylaws prohibit "providing financial aid or scholarships to a student-athlete on the basis of athletic ability."

If any of the athletes refuse to relinquish the scholarship received for the 2020-21 school year by a deadline set by the OHSAA, or if they transfer to another school prior to repaying the money, they will be subject to a period of ineligibility in each sport in which they participate. All 11 affected student-athletes remain enrolled at Walsh Jesuit.

“We fully expect them to be Warriors and to graduate in great standing down the road,” school president Karl Ertle told the Beacon Journal“I am still waiting for final confirmation from the OHSAA regarding our consequences. We have been back-and-forth many times with the OHSAA reviewing different things as they ask for more information or more details about the things that we did self-report.”

Ertle declined to identify the donors but did they say they “apologized” and “were not aware of the road they were going down.”

“We were not accused of anything,” Ertle said. “We discovered an issue and immediately brought in a third-party group so that we could have a full and thorough investigation. We want to be good partners with all of the other schools in the OHSAA."

The OHSAA has acknowledged the school’s self-imposed penalties/corrective actions, which also included the following:

• McIntyre is not eligible to coach at Walsh Jesuit again and will be excluded from the Walsh Jesuit campus for a minimum of 42 months, until the current freshman class graduates.

• The involved donors are banned from the Walsh Jesuit campus for two years and forbidden from making donations, having connections or communication with Walsh Jesuit sports teams for five years.

• All Walsh Jesuit coaches will attend an OHSAA recruiting seminar.

• An athletic administrator was suspended for two weeks and will participate in the OHSAA training.

 • Walsh Jesuit implemented a new protocol for the business office to have third-party tuition payments more carefully reviewed.

• The Board of Education established an athletic committee that will begin a top-to-bottom review of all procedures and processes and confer with other schools regarding best practices.

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