In this issue of the Press, we report on the public release of the school district’s investigative reports concerning the high school varsity football program and the allegations of illegal recruiting and improper residency that occurred in late October and early November. These issues resulted in the ultimate suspension of the football program by Section III Athletics, abruptly ending an undefeated season and dashing hopes of a state title.
Our intention in returning to this controversial issue is not to revive a public outcry or to blame or accuse any person involved in the event, but merely to report and inform.
The public release of these documents in newsworthy in itself; but, more than that, even after the denouement of the football situation, we heard many people in and around town say they were dissatisfied because they wanted more information from the school board. They wanted to know the facts that the school board knew during the entire affair.
This desire led one local resident to file a Freedom of Information Law request that made these documents public. As one member of the board of education told us, these are public documents and the public is entitled to see them if they so desire.
The documents are interesting in the details they offer, although the facts in general have previously been reported in some media outlets.
We feel they are insightful in the degree to which they show how thorough and detailed was the district’s investigation, and that the school board’s decisions were based on solid evidence and were not, as was at times accused, an illicit or ignorant “witch hunt” without facts and from unreliable sources.
In the end, a major issue of this entire situation revolves around accountability: accountability of players and coaches to follow the rules, and accountability of the elected school board members to act in the best interests of the district and everyone in it.
We encourage those with an interest to read our summary of the documents in this issue, or go online to skaneatelespress.com to read the documents in full.