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OHSAA rules against Mooney

Published: Fri, June 14, 2013 @ 12:09 a.m.

By Joe Scalzo



A Cardinal Mooney freshman football coach has left his job. Two incoming freshmen may have lost a year of eligibility. And Cardinal Mooney disagrees with the Ohio High School Athletic Association on a couple key facts related to a recruiting investigation.

The penalties stem from a dinner, hosted by a Cardinal Mooney coach a few months ago, that two Struthers eighth graders attended concerning “their possible matriculation to Mooney,” according to a statement released by the OHSAA on Thursday morning.

OHSAA commissioner Dr. Dan Ross ruled that the students will be ineligible to play sports at Mooney for one year from their date of enrollment should they choose to enroll as freshmen in 2013-14.

OHSAA bylaw 4-9-4 prohibits coaches from “having any contact with prospective student-athletes, except as permitted, who are not presently enrolled in the school’s educational program, or their parents, prior to written acceptance notification.”

One of the students has since been accepted to Mooney. The OHSAA is investigating allegations that the other student continues to receive text messages from another Mooney coach.

Both student-athletes are “above-average” football players, according to a source familiar with the situation. One is a lineman and the other is a skill position player, the source said.

Randy Rair, assistant superintendent for the Youngstown Diocese, said the school conducted an internal investigation and found no evidence of improper texting.

“We investigated that pretty thoroughly,” he said of the texting allegations.

As for the dinner, Rair claims it was attended by just one student — the one accepted for enrollment — as well as his family and that Mooney self-reported the violation. Rair said the Mooney coach “acted on his own.”

Neither Rair nor the OHSAA would identify the coach. One freshman coach, Paul Mahin, left Mooney’s program in mid-February, around the time of the dinner. When reached by phone Thursday night, Mahin declined comment except to say he did not resign over the allegations.

“Our schools are members of the OHSAA and we want to follow the rules,” Rair said. “As soon as we were notified [of the meal], we self-reported it and asked the OHSAA to investigate.”

Struthers superintendent Joseph Nohra said his school was notified of the violation by Mooney and the Youngstown 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.”

Neither Mooney football coach P.J. Fecko nor athletic director Don Bucci returned messages seeking comment.

Nick Wolsonovish, superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Youngstown, said the school has worked collaboratively with the OHSAA for months and that the Diocese is still investigating the situation.

“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 said.

Vindicator reporter Denise Dick contributed to this report.


1kensgirl(1064 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

All schools recruit. Mooney just happened to get caught.

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2republicanRick(1739 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

kensgirl, that's the same excuse Nixon gave. It didn't work then and it sure doesn't work now.

Catholic values. I'd like the Pope to explain cheating, lying, covering up, and how they relate to Godliness.

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3YtownSports(306 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

Parochials are an easy target for recruiting charges...often of their own making. However, now with so many districts offering open enrollment, public schools...which have often had suspicious transfers...will now have the same "recruiting" opportunities and should come under the same scrutiny.

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4taxme(361 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

OMG we all new what kensgirl would say. Honey your drinking to much of the koolaid! Sweep it under the carpet like you do with everything else and blame it on ever one else.

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5Cubbies(37 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

The Mooney lovers continue to deny the facts. You've been recruiting for decades and you know it. Again you shout this is "much ado about nothing"...just like your booze and cigars on campus after another tainted state title

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6republicanRick(1739 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

Watch the news reports and read these message boards, ANYBODY connected with Mooney denies wrongdoing. Always. They had the Asst Supt on the news last night and he denied wrongdoing and said the kids were being punished unfairly. The football coach, the athletic director, the coaches involved all deny and stonewall by refusing to speak. This is truly a cult when they refuse to admit any wrongdoing, ever, and stonewall the public.

Their actions are shameful, unethical, and certainly not God-like.

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7taxme(361 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

how about the fellow who wrote this article were all reading making it sound like mooney really got punished. the kids got punished for what moobey did. this writer's drinking too much the Kool Aid is well too and is part of the problem!

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8GoPens(397 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

Instead of the kids being banned from playing for a year, how about the Mooney program be shut down for a year?

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9lumper(301 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

do you really think the head coach doesn't know who his coaches are meeting with ?

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10chiro(1 comment)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

You are exactly right taxme! The two kids in this situation are getting punished for this. Two kids that want to have that chance of playing for mooney in which in turn betters their chance of being recruited to a big time college. It sounds like these two kids are pretty talented and what kid with talent would not want to play for a program like mooney!
There is not a team out there that does not want the best talent and will do whatever it takes to get it. Let the kids play wherever they want to play!
I do not live in the mahoning valley anymore but where I do live when you tell people you are from youngstown, ohio they know about Cardinal mooney and Ursuline football! I I were in these kids shoes I would want to play for one of these schools also. They are the ones getting looked at by college recruits every week. Who wouldn't want that chance! If it is really about the kids let them play where they want to play and give them a chance to be looked at by some big time colleges which is a dream for most of these young men to play at the next level.

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