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Pay to Play Allegations Surface in Chicago High Schools

Allegations of a “pay to play” system have surfaced from Chicago high school volleyball players and their parents who claim players were cut or benched because they no longer play on club teams led by their high school coach.

One high school player told CBS 2 Chicago that she was cut from the Whitney Young Magnet High School volleyball team because she stopped playing on a private club volleyball team coached by Jaime Walters, who also coaches the Whitney Young team. 

“It’s all connected, which it shouldn’t be,” the senior, who believes she suffered retaliation, told the TV station. “This whole club fee should have nothing to do with Whitney Young at all.”

Parents of other high school volleyball players in Chicago Public Schools told the TV station their daughters were either cut or benched from their high school teams after they switched from the private volleyball club where the coach also is employed. The parents said their daughters played for a club team called Powerhouse coached by Walters.

The former owner of the Powerhouse team, Joel Anderson, coaches at Walter Payton College Prep in the Chicago Public Schools system, the TV station reported. Anderson, who now co-owns another club team where Walters also coaches, denies there’s a pay-to-play atmosphere. Walters could not be reached for comment.

One of the parents said dues for a club volleyball team cost $1,300 to $1,400 per player.

In a written statement to CBS 2 Chicago, Chicago Public Schools said, “This matter is under investigation to review compliance with the board’s ethics and disciplinary policies.”

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