Toledo Whitmer slammed by OHSAA

After a 17-month investigation by the Ohio High School Athletic Association, Toledo Whitmer has forfeited all its football and basketball victories from the 2011-12 school year and also paid $50,000 to reimburse the OHSAA for the costs of the probe.

The problem centered around LeRoy Alexander, an illegal transfer, who is now a freshman football player at Nebraska.

Other schools in northwestern Ohio have viewed Whitmer cautiously for years. Although it is geographically located within the Toledo city limits, several years ago it broke away from the Toledo school district and formed its own school board. Whitmer’s current superintendent is Patrick Hickey.

The penalties taint the Division I powerhouse’s all-time greatest athletic year. In football it was a state semifinalist and in basketball it reached the state championship game. Whitmer defeated St. Edward in the state semifinals in Columbus last spring.

Because of the money involved, this represents the harshest penalty imposed by the OHSAA since Canton McKinley football was handed the death penalty in 1962 for recruiting violations. That year McKinley was not permitted to play a varsity football schedule because two boosters recruited a pair of downstate players and moved the families to Canton.

Both Hickey and OHSAA commissioner Dan Ross agree that the $50,000 settlement is not a fine, but reimbursement for the costs of detectives. Whitmer agreed to pay up and abandon its defense because it already piled up legal fees totaling $108,609. The total cost of this case, which has now reached $158,609, will come out of Whitner’s general fund. Superintendent Hickey called it a “sickening punch to the stomach.”

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