COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio High School Athletic Association has concluded its investigation into Bellaire St. John Central High School and announced additional findings and penalties, OHSAA Commissioner Dr. Dan Ross announced. It was determined that multiple student-athletes were given improper tuition assistance based on their athletic ability.
In addition to forfeiting its football wins from last fall, St. John Central is placed on two years’ probation, is fined $1,000 and is receiving a public reprimand. The penalties were lessened due to the cooperation received during the investigation and the personnel changes already made at the school, which include a new football coach, athletic director and finance director. The forfeitures were enacted last fall when it was initially discovered one of the student-athletes was not eligible per OHSAA bylaw 4-6-3, Residency.
“We appreciate the cooperation of school administrators and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Steubenville,” Dr. Ross said. “In addition to the OHSAA bylaw infractions, this was a very unique case because the school violated its own policies by providing financial assistance to student-athletes without having them submit an application for financial aid or reviewing their financial circumstances. We believe the school has made the necessary changes to get back in compliance, not only with the OHSAA, but with the Roman Catholic Diocese.”
“We were very disappointed to discover these violations within one of our schools,” said Paul D. Ward, Director of the Office of Christian Formation and Schools for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Steubenville. “We have now made changes in our financial aid process to ensure this doesn’t happen again and we have educated the administrators of our schools on these and other OHSAA bylaws. Our goal is to be an upstanding member of the OHSAA and abide by the bylaws that the member schools have voted into place.”
The additional violations were of OHSAA Bylaw 4-9-4 Recruiting, Item No. 7, Providing financial aid or scholarships to a student-athlete on the basis of athletic ability. St. John Central is also required to send administrators to the OHSAA’s New Administrators Workshop in August, which will result in a reduction of the fine by $250.