Mansfield principal Dr. Joseph Maruszczak released the following statement this afternoon in response to the MIAA's punishment handed down earlier this week.
MANSFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOLS STATEMENT ON MIAA CORRESPONDENCE OF 1/5/09
Mansfield High School is in receipt of the correspondence from MIAA President James C. Peter to MHS Principal Dr. Joseph Maruszczak delineating the MIAA Board Subcommittee motions based upon the school's appeal hearing of December 18, 2008. As stated in the letter, the athletic department and school administration have acknowledged that an ineligible player played in two football games during the 2008 season due to a clerical oversight. Per Rule 84 of the MIAA Rules and Regulations Governing Athletics, Dr. Maruszczak has sent letters of forfeiture to the principals of the schools (Oliver Ames High School and Sharon High School) against whom the ineligible student participated.
The school has also surrendered the MIAA Superbowl runner-up trophy to MIAA officials. The athletic department and school administration are committed to strengthening the school's process in determining student athlete eligibility as well as developing an enhanced coach's handbook which clearly details the communication procedures when student eligibility may be in question. We look forward to collaborating with the MIAA Board of Directors and accepting their guidance.
However, there are several additional aspects of the subcommittee's ruling which are ambiguous, inappropriate, or not supported by the MIAA's rules. These include the placement of the entire Mansfield High School athletic program on probation, the subcommittee's order that Dr. Maruszczak take punitive action against Head Football Coach Michael Redding, and the requirement that the Mansfield Public Schools reimburse the MIAA for its legal fees. Mansfield officials will be in communication with the MIAA in the near future to seek clarification of and communicate their concerns over these aspects of the ruling.
It is troubling that the subcommittee's ruling appears to take on a strong, personal agenda against Coach Michael Redding. Michael is a highly respected educator and coach, with 45 seasons of varsity coaching experience in football and other sports over the past 21 years. He has consistently demonstrated the highest regard for MIAA rules and policies, as his team policies and procedures often exceed the baseline parameters established by the MIAA. Mansfield High School will continue to support Coach Redding and his commendable work with Mansfield's student-athletes.
It is unfortunate that the MIAA and Mansfield Athletics Program, both designed to provide positive opportunities for students, are the source of any negative focus. It is our hope and commitment that this issue will be resolved professionally and respectfully.
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