The Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) has reduced the suspension for Galion head football coach Chris Hawkins from two games to one game. Hawkins confirmed that fact on Monday.
That means the veteran coach won’t be on the sideline for the Tigers’ game against rival Bucyrus this Friday for the 2015 season opener, but will be back in action for week two of the season.
Athletic Director Kyle Baughn said in place of serving the two-game suspension, the OHSAA is requiring Hawkins to serve a one-game suspension and provide an educational presentation for all Galion coaches as well as coaches in the North Central Ohio Football Coaches Association regarding how to avoid running afoul of association regulations. Baughn said in his role as athletic director, he will continue to educate Galion coaches about OHSAA regulations to make sure they understand what is and is not permissible.
“Everything will be purely educational on my part, making sure that as the athletic director I’m more knowledgeable about the ‘Dos’ and ‘Don’ts’ of a semi-complicated system,” Baughn stated. “I think the state has recognized that there was no malicious intent whatsoever, but the appeals board felt there were some mistakes made. Chris has been nothing but cooperative throughout the whole thing and tried to do the right thing.”
Previously, the OHSAA had issued a two-game suspension for Hawkins after the Galion City School District self reported a violation of the prep sports governing body’s regulations regarding recruiting. The district reported the violation in June and the penalties against the district were announced in July.
As part of the penalties handed down by the OHSAA, the Galion High School athletic department was placed on two years’ probation, effective through Aug. 1, 2017. Also, the district was fined $750 and required to establish an action plan to educate its coaches about OHSAA rules and regulations. That plan was submitted to OHSAA in late July, according to Athletic Director Kyle Baughn.
The athlete involved in the recruiting violation was suspended from participation in all preseason scrimmages as well as the season opener against Bucyrus.
Hawkins appealed the suspension to the OHSAA Board of Directors in early August and met with the board Aug. 12. His appeal was denied, but the OHSAA issued the following statement, which included a plan whereby the penalties could be reduced if the district met certain criteria:
“The OHSAA Board of Directors heard the appeal from administrators at Galion High School and its head football coach, Chris Hawkins, on Wednesday and reached a decision Thursday. The board voted to deny the appeal and uphold the penalties as they are currently prescribed, however the board also proposed that if Galion school administrators will invoke their own penalties and work with the OHSAA staff to implement an educational plan regarding OHSAA bylaws, there could potentially be a reduction of the penalties issued by the OHSAA.”
At this point, it’s unknown if any of the other penalties assessed against Galion or the athlete in question have been reduced.
Reach Carter at 419-468-1117, ext. 2048, or on Twitter @ACGalionSports.