Two Cleveland high schools hit with sanctions for football, soccer rule violation

CLEVELAND-- Two Cleveland high schools are facing serious sanctions that could jeopardize students' athletic futures after penalties were issued by the Ohio High School Athletic Association for a practice some refer to as stacking teams.

"You should let the parents pick and the kids pick what school is best for their kids, and if Glenville and Ginn Academy is what the parents and the kids want, then it shouldn't be a problem," said Anthony Pitts, who played for Glenville and now has a son on the team.

This year's season dramatically changed after the OHSAA announced it will be placed on probation through the 2020 to 2021 school year. In addition, if the team finishes in the top eight in the region, it is ineligible for the playoffs. The school district was also charged $5,000.

John Marshall High School will forfeit two football wins along with three soccer victories.

According to OHSAA, the issue at hand is the district incorrectly assigned students to schools for participation in football and soccer. While students who attended non-traditional high schools are allowed to play for programs that offer sports, they are supposed to go to play for the school closest to their home.

"I know Mr. Ginn. His main thing is to try and keep those kids off the street so if they're being punished, a lot of them go back to what they know best and that's the streets," said Gregory Draft, the owner of First Draft Picks BarberShop.

The team is the talk of the barbershop as clients mentioned the punishment was too severe and hoped it would not weaken the team. One of the youngest children there said he's dreamed of playing for the championship level coach.

"He's a good coach and how he stays with the community and how he love his kids and always sticks with them," said Demetrius Harper Jr.

A spokesperson for CMSD issued the following statement:

"While we accept full responsibility for the sanctions imposed by OHSAA, we take exception to penalties imposed on our players. For this reason, CMSD has filed an appeal with OHSAA to find a way to hold the District accountable without imposing harm to our students for the decisions of adults."

Pitts said all he can do now is hope the decision is reversed.

"You're stripping them from what they work hard for, to come all the way to Ginn to play for this man and be part of this organization and now they can't do that no more it's like where they going to go from here?"