Paterson Recruiting Scandal Ends with Suspensions, Fines | Athletic Business

Paterson Recruiting Scandal Ends with Suspensions, Fines

After months of investigations, the boys and girls basketball teams at Eastside High School in Paterson, New Jersey, were put on probation after state officials found that the teams had violated state recruiting rules.

According to a report from NJ Advance Media, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association's Controversies Committee concluded that Eastside failed to file paperwork for a number of players recruited  through an “international pipeline” that had been bringing foreign athletes to Paterson since 2013.

The NJSIAA levied $1,500 in fines against the school and suspended both the boys and girls teams from tournament play for two years. In addition, both teams will be under a two-year probationary period.

Boys head coach Juan Griles was slapped with a two-year coaching suspension and a $1,000 fine, while girls coach Ray Lyde Jr. received a $500 fine and will serve a one-year coaching suspension.

Griles and Lyde Jr., along with athletic director Gregory Cooper and assistant coach Alberto Maldonado had already been terminated back in April by the Eastside School Board.

NJSIAA attorney Michael W. Herbert told NJ Advance Media that the committee wanted to refrain from penalizing the students, as the adults involved in the situation should have known better. "The committee felt very strongly with regards to the coach's actions and the administration's actions and wanted to make sure those are taken care of," Herbert said.

The athletes at issue in the case were from Africa, South America and Puerto Rico and were living with district coaches who claimed acted as the players’ legal guardians. Immigration officials described the situation as human trafficking.

Players that did live with the coaches reported less-than-idea living conditions. Christian Ortiz, a Puerto Rican native and a player for the Eastside boys team from 2012-2103, told NJ Advance Media that coach Griles offered him “heaven” but that he ended up sleeping on a pile of laundry in Griles’ house. Ortiz called the situation “hell.” 

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