ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Section 2’s athletic council voted unanimously Wednesday morning to place Christian Brothers Academy on probation for three years, and suspend the football program for week zero.
The committee found CBA to be in violation of NYSPHSAA’s recruitment and undue influence rule. CBA will also have to propose and execute a development plan to educate coaches on that rule. The definition for the rule is:
The use of influence by any person connected directly or indirectly with a NYSPHSAA school to induce a student to transfer from one school to another, or to enter the ninth grade at a member school for athletic purposes – whether or not the school presently attended by the student is a member of NYSPHSAA.
In a message to CBA families, CBA President Dr. James Schlegel explained the incident that led to the suspension was a Facebook message between a junior varsity football coach and an acquaintance. “In the Facebook communication, the coach asked the student’s father, who lives in Watervliet, what he thought about his son, who attends the Saratoga Springs School District, coming to visit CBA,” writes Schlegel. “The student has neither applied for admission to nor is enrolled at CBA. Section 2 has decided that this communication constitutes ‘recruitment and undue influence’ in violation of New York State Public High School Athletic Association’s rules.”
Three other incidents were used against CBA in this matter: a 2015 violation involving an ineligible golfer participating in a match, a 2019 violation of the recruitment rule, and a 2021 incident in which no violation was found, but serious concerns were expressed by Section 2. If another violation is committed during the probationary period, CBA could be subject to suspension from postseason play.
Some on the council believe their need to be swifter and harsher penalties for recruiting. “We are very concerned that schools have the ability to go out and recruit, and if proven guilty, the precedent that has been established is that the first time would be a letter of censure and professional development for your coaches,” said athletic director Chris Culnan. “We’re concerned about that.”
CBA can appeal the decision if they choose to do so. The full letter from Dr. Schlegel can be found below.
Today, Section 2’s Athletic Council voted to place CBA on probation and also serve a one-week suspension during the fall 2023 season in the sport of football. This suspension will occur during week zero. The suspension is the result of a Facebook communication between a lower-level CBA football coach and an acquaintance, who is the father of a student attending another school. In the Facebook communication, the coach asked the student’s father, who lives in Watervliet, what he thought about his son, who attends the Saratoga Springs School District, coming to visit CBA. The student has neither applied for admission to nor is enrolled at CBA. Section 2 has decided that this communication constitutes “recruitment and undue influence” in violation of New York State Public High School Athletic Association’s rules.
On October 28, 2022, we were advised by Section 2 that a Recruitment and Undue Influence Reporting Form was filed against CBA by Saratoga Central School District regarding this alleged incident. Prior to this notification, we were completely unaware of any communications between the coach and the student’s father, let alone communications inquiring about the student’s interest in CBA. Christian Brothers Academy is well aware of and complies with the rules of New York State Public High School Athletic Association and Section 2, including the rules regarding recruitment and undue influence. We had previously instructed all of our coaches about these rules and have mandated that they are to be followed at all times. Following notification, the coach was once again instructed on the rules, the proper procedure to respond to inquiries about CBA, and the expectations of the administration and coaches at CBA.
We informed Section 2’s Executive Committee that we were glad this matter was brought to our attention so that we could address it promptly with the coach. We addressed the issue directly, made no attempt to obfuscate or dissemble, and acted as we would hope every school in this situation would. Christian Brothers Academy will continue to comply with and support all rules of NYSPHSAA and Section 2, and we expect the same from all of our coaches and athletic staff.Dr. James Schlegel, CBA President