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UPDATE | Mooney under investigation by OHSAA; coach resigns amid probe

Published: Thu, June 13, 2013 @ 2:50 p.m.

YOUNGSTOWN — The Ohio High School Athletic Association is investigating a situation in which two eighth-graders from Struthers Middle School were hosted at a dinner by a coach from Cardinal Mooney High School about their possible enrollment to Mooney.

“The school has taken action to accept the resignation of the coach in question,” according to a statement from Tim Stried, OHSAA director of information service. “One of the students involved has been accepted to attend Cardinal Mooney High School, while it has been alleged that the other student continues to receive text messages from another coach at Mooney."

Nick Wolsonovich, superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Youngstown, confirmed that a coach has resigned amid an Ohio High School Athletic Association investigation of Cardinal Mooney High School.

Wolsonovich declined to identify the coach. He and Stried indicated the Mooney football program was the focus of the investigation.

Some punitive actions have already been taken place, Stried said.

"The Commissioner’s Office has ruled that the two students will be ineligible for interscholastic athletics for one year from their date of enrollment should they choose to enroll in and attend Cardinal Mooney as freshmen in 2013-14," Stried said in a statement. "Penalties against the school have not been applied, pending completion of this investigation.”

The investigation, which is being conducted between the school and OHSAA, began months ago, Wolsonovich said.

“One of the things we want to emphasize is that we are a member of the OHSAA and we are committed to following their rules and regulations and try to collaborate and cooperate with the OHSAA on every single incident,” he added.

Randy Rair, the assistant superintendent for the Catholic diocese of Youngstown, said an internal investigation "found no evidence" that one of the Struthers middle schoolers continues to receive text messages from a Mooney coach.

"We investigated that thoroughly," he said. "We found no evidence of anything improper."

Rair said the other coach, who is no longer with the program, did host a dinner for the family of the other Struthers middle schooler, who had already contacted Mooney about enrolling at the school.

"That other coach acted on his own and did make a mistake," Rair said. "Our school is a member of the OHSAA and we want to follow the rules. As soon as we were notified, it was self-reported. We wanted to make sure everything was done above board.

"This was one man [making a mistake], not something systematic."

Struthers Superintendent Joseph Nohra said his school was notified of the violation by Cardinal Mooney and the Diocese, not by the OHSAA.

"We didn't go looking for this," Nohra said. "We didn't go running to the OHSAA. From our viewpoint, we felt it was a situation we should turn over to our sister school [Mooney] and work with them closely on the issue.

"We have a lot of compassion for our students and our families and this is an unfortunate situation."

This is a breaking news story. Watch Vindy.com for details.


1HowlandCitizen(34 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

As if we didn't know this was occurring. This is why Catholic schools and public schools need to have their own state tournaments. They have an unfair advantage when it comes to being allowed to recruit. I am surprised Mooney was punished. Didn't they use the typical "we weren't recruiting these kids for football, we were recruiting them because they would make fine catholic students" excuse?

I am fine with them recruiting actually. If a kids athletic talents can get him an education at a quality private school, free of charge, why not? But lets not pretend the public and private schools are on a level playing ground.

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2outoftownbutstillaround(16 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

I agree with HowlandCitizen - we need separate state tournaments. It will be too bad when people stop caring about the public tournament because all the talent will be in the Catholic tournament, according to his own words. It will be like the NIT and the NCAA - both tournaments but we all know which one matters.

How does open enrollment play into this? Are you saying that every player for public schools lives in his/her respective district? You must forget the state championships Campbell and Girard won back in the day? They had dudes from other countries!

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3Dagwood(111 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

Breaking News: WE LANDED ON THE MOON!!!!

Vindy do not turn a blind eye and write stories as if you had no idea the Catholic schools recruit players. I mean c'mon its realistic for kids that live in Warren to drive to the northside of Ytown for school right?

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4Silence_Dogood(1341 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

I had to laugh at Ursuline's Patricia Flemmings comment to prospective Parents at several of the meetings they have each year.
" Dont worry about the cost of tuition, we will set up an account in your child's name and any one that wants to can DONATE monies into the account. They can even do this ANONYMOUSLY." The only thing missing was the "wink, wink, nudge, nudge." Right out of the bible, "manna from heaven", the only problem is if your child is not a good ball player well then not so much manna will be falling your way.

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5HowlandCitizen(34 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

NIT vs NCAA? Really? It works in other states (like Texas), it will work here. I never said recruiting doesn't occur at public schools, but they're under a large microscope, unlike the parochial schools.

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6green(34 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

Seriously Howland are you anti-catholic or what? You never make mention of open enrollment schools. If you want to seperate schools for playoffs, then parochial AND open enrollment schools should have their own playoffs - correct?? This incident is a result of a coach not knowing the rules and the responsibility first falls on his boss the head coach and ultimately the A.D., who everyone knows is 80 + years old and lacks the leadership needed to run athletics at Mooney. I blame all those that have a blind eye to the fact that athletics at Mooney need to be run by someone who is capable of doing so. If they did all the coaches would have enough respect to first check with that leader to determine if a meeting is a violation.

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7walter_sobchak(1909 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

"I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!" - Captain Renault in Casablanca.

I think some people owe Canfield AD Greg Cooper an apology!

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8AtownAugie(697 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

@Walter: brilliantly cogent! And don't forget the houseman coming up to Captain Renault as the Captain is barking orders and handing him a wad of money, saying "You're winnings, sir." Then the "Thank you very much" as the Captain pockets the wad and walks away to see that his order is carried out, (Such big stones being thrown in some postings -- and so many glass houses.)

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9theotherside(333 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

Yawn. If the public was 25% more concerned with academic achievement rather than sports in general and football in particular, we would be discussing what schools were recruiting the best scholars. Why is this even important?

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10Hlecter(59 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

"this incident is a result of a coach not knowing the rules"

Really???? How stupid do you have to be to know that contact with 8th graders is a violation?

What is this freshman coach's name btw?

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11busyman(239 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

Nobody gets it. This is the unravelling of the Mooney program. Ever since the Pope of Youngstown made his polictically backed decision to not move Mooney to the burbs, the money makers and shakers will pull out all the stops to change the course of this final outcome. The battle for the burbs far from over. This program to attract young atheletes to attend has been going on since the 60's. By the time this is done, we in Mahoning Valley will have Mooney Gate. I bet the coaches in the burbs are licking their chops.

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12GoPens(397 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

Shocking! Truly shocking! Wonder what all the parochial apologists who throughout the years said they don't recruit will come up with now?

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13gdog4766(1495 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

Those of us who really know local sports aren't surprised. Mooney has been cheating for years by trolling all the pee wee and younger leagues. Just last week when I complained about a local school getting bounced three years Ina row by other cheating recruiting private schools people defended this type of,cheating. Ones moral compass really has to be screwed up to constantly defend these actions. But remember these are the adults that supplied booze and tobacco to kids then got Foley to shame his name and reputation by squashing the investigation. These kids from these families must really,grow up screwed up. They should change their name to Honey Boo Boo High.

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14Knightcap(699 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

Was their ever a scorecard on which school Ursuline, Mooney or Warren Harding had the most political criminals?

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15HowlandCitizen(34 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

No, I am not anti-Catholic. You must have a strong bias to make a comment like that. I even stated that I support kids getting a free education at a superior private school if their athletic ability can write them a free pass, their parents would be stupid to turn it down.

Catholic schools have that advantage, this coach just reached too far. Due to that advantage, the state playoff system should be separate, or they should have a division of their own.

Kids who transfer to schools with open enrollment have to sit out for a year before they are eligible to play, if they transfer. Parochial schools can bypass this, as long as they don't get caught texting 8th graders. Separate them.

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16arod(264 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

It's been happening for years it isn't going to change anytime soon. Happy Recruiting!!!

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17lumper(281 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

this calls for champagne and cigars !!!!

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18BigJim2234(57 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

Born and raised in Struthers I love this!! Good job Struthers!

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19stan_smagala(56 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

Maybe these kids just wanted to go to the new school in suburbia.

Tough couple of weeks for some of the Mooney elitists...

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20DToohey(10 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

Silence_Dogwood, I am not going to deny recruiting doesn't go on in the private schools but before you talk about something better know your facts. My brother and I attended Ursuline and we did not participate in athletics and our economic situation made it difficult to pay for school. My brother was on that list Mrs Fleming spoke about and he his tuition was taken care of by a anonymous donor. Ursulie does have quite a bit of financial support from its Alumni for Scholarships for students who cannot otherwise afford a quality catholic education.

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21lumper(281 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

you have to be stupid to believe that all the coaches are not aware of whom the other coaches are meeting with. the coaches are all very close and everybody knows what everybody else is working on.

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22ANTIYOUNGSTOWN(241 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

Boy, Mooney has taken a beating the last couple weeks.

Looks like the coach who "resigned" is the sacrificial lamb being offered up to quietly dispose of the situation. Or Mooney is just trying to get ahead of the punishment before OHSAA gets involved.

Here`s hoping that justice is finally served to those schools who have been breaking the rules for so long.

My question is, where are all those Mooney and Ursuline alumni and their comments now that their hand was caught in the cookie jar?

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23Max(81 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

The Mooney and Ursuline alumni are right here, antiyoungstown, sitting back chuckling at all of you haters who wait for anything to happen that can allow them to lash out and bash us. There is absolutely no point in making an argument with you people, bacause you won't listen. You just want to attack the private schools at any opportunity. I'm not defending what happened in any way -- the rules should be followed, and the schools should pay consequences. But it really is comical watching the anti-Catholics come out of the woodwork at any opportunity.

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24Max(81 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

And by the way, since they're not here, they are obviously not defending the actions of the coach, are they?? No -- the school dismissed the coach, admitted to the violation, and did the right thing. And still, you b-----. Can't win, so we might as well not argue the point.

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25ANTIYOUNGSTOWN(241 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

Max, actually I am Catholic and I am a strong supporter of the parochial schools, but only at the grade school level. No one is looking to recruit at first grade. No one is worried about how fast or how big a child is. No one cares how many grade school championships are won. It`s about raising a child with a sound, moral base. Strong in the Catholic faith, strong in family values.

Mooney and Ursuline only care about how many titles can be won. You hear about it every football season. While they are out "recruiting" more stars for their teams who get financial aid or free rides altogether, middle class Catholics who have daughters or non athletic sons have to struggle to raise the $7,000 a year tuition. No one is knocking on their doors or taking them to dinner.

I`ve read comments on these boards in the past from the Mooney and Ursuline supporters claiming, "there`s no recruitment going on." "all that is a myth." "lies created by haters." Now, they`re saying "well, everyone does it." Hoping it gets swept under the rug, and don`t worry, it probably will.

So tell me Max, what point is there to argue? That everyone goes to Mooney or Ursuline because they want a Catholic education? Really? I`ll try to remember that next Sunday at mass. I`ll look for all those football players at communion.

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26Wolf06(18 comments)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

For what's it's worth (not much), it seems to me that the powers-that-be at Cardinal Mooney are hunkered down, not saying anything and just waiting for this to blow over without any public accounting, just like their champaign and cigars episode when they won the state title a few years back. I'll bet dollars to donuts the issue won't come up once in all the press coverage they get for their upcoming football camp, despite all the principal characters in this most recent affair being there.

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