(FOX 19) Cincinnati, OH - Taft High School head football coach Mike Martin has been suspended an additional three weeks by the Ohio High School Athletics Association. Martin had already begun serving a two week suspension handed out by the district for playing ineligible players in the Senators season opener. The OHSAA says Martin "willingly and knowingly" played the ineligible players.
In a text message to Fox 19 Martin said "I accept my suspension but my time to speak on everything will come. I don't want to add any more negative attention to my team at this time."
The full release from the OHSAA is listed below.
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio High School Athletic Association announced today that Cincinnati Taft High School has been issued penalties as the result of a major infraction within its football program. The penalties stem from an incident in which head football coach Mike Martin knowingly and willingly permitted five ineligible students to participate in the team's season-opening football contest Aug. 28.
Two days before the contest, the OHSAA had a lengthy phone conversation with Taft administrators regarding five student-athletes who had recently transferred to Taft and were members of the football team. The OHSAA ruled that the five students did not meet an exception to the transfer Bylaw (4-7-2) and thus are ineligible for one year from the date of transfer.
Taft administrators informed Martin that the five students were ineligible, but that did not stop the coach from playing the five students in the season-opening contest Aug. 28. Following the game, Taft administrators informed the OHSAA that all five students participated in the game and also confirmed that two additional ineligible students competed in the game, bringing the total to seven.
Martin may not participate in any way with the football team or members of the coaching staff for a total of five weeks. In addition, Taft shall be fined $2,500 for the intentional violation of an OHSAA Bylaw and is hereby placed on probation for two years. No forfeiture is necessary since Taft did not win its season-opening football game.
School officials and Cincinnati Public Schools may invoke further penalties if they so choose.