The bishop said any public perception of wrongdoing will be thoroughly examined by the new commission.
By RON COLE
VINDICATOR EDUCATION WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- A five-member committee has been named to review the athletic programs in the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown's six high schools.
Bishop Thomas J. Tobin announced the Ad Hoc Commission on Athletics in Diocesan High Schools on Thursday in response to public concerns about diocese sports programs.
The announcement comes six weeks after Ursuline High School in Youngstown, the defending Division IV state champion in football, was forced to forfeit four victories this year because it had used an academically ineligible player.
"I am very proud of our Catholic high schools," Bishop Tobin said in a news release. "It is important, however, that all aspects of our Catholic schools, including athletics, support and reflect the primary mission of Catholic education, which is the handing on of our Catholic faith and the provision of a quality education.
"When the integrity of our programs is questioned, we will examine them, commend what is worthwhile and correct whatever is inconsistent with the values of our Catholic schools."
To review all aspects: The commission will review all aspects of the athletic programs at Ursuline and Cardinal Mooney High School in Youngstown, Saints John & amp; Paul High School in Ashtabula, John F. Kennedy High School in Warren, St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Louisville and Central Catholic High School in Canton.
The panel, chaired by the Rev. Msgr. John Ashton of St. Lucy Parish in Campbell, will produce a written report by June 2002 and submit it to the bishop and the Office of Catholic Schools. The report also will be given to the Ohio High School Athletic Association.
Other members: Other commission members are attorney Mary Beth Houser of Newman, Olson and Kerr; Victoria Conley, executive director of the Sisters of Charity Foundation; Edward Batania, former Northeast Ohio Coordinator for OHSAA; and Dr. Laurence Bove, ethics professor at Walsh University in North Canton.
Commission members will interview all personnel involved in admissions, eligibility and supervision of the athletic programs and will have full access to all rosters and financial records, including budgets, contracts, scholarships and financial aid documents, accounting practices of booster clubs and records of all funding sources.
"I expect that this independent body will carefully review all aspects of the athletic programs and provide us with specific information so that any misunderstanding or public perception of wrongdoing may be thoroughly examined and, if necessary, immediately and completely addressed," Bishop Tobin said.