AIA investigation of Centennial raises questions

AIA investigation of Centennial raises questions


AIA investigation of Centennial raises questions


Let’s start with this: I have no idea if Peoria Centennial football coach Richard Taylor is guilty of recruiting, as the Arizona Interscholastic Association alleges.

Rumors of wrongdoing have been circulating for years; every so often I’ll receive an e-mail or a phone call from an anonymous source saying Centennial is dirty. But accusations aren’t facts, and those slinging the mud often have agendas of their own.

Is it possible Taylor violated AIA bylaws and enticed a student-athlete to transfer to Centennial? Sure. But he could also provide evidence that clears his name when he appears before the AIA’s executive board on Feb. 25.

At this point, the truth is elusive.

What I don’t understand is how the AIA determined a recruiting violation was committed when it never talked to Taylor. That’s right; in its investigation the AIA never bothered to ask Taylor about the charges.

AIA attorney Mark Mignella told azcentral sports reporter Richard Obert that the association relied on a voice message left by Taylor and e-mails written by the Centennial coach.

“The board, after looking at all of this information, did not see any reason at that point to require for Coach Taylor to be interviewed,” Mignella said. “He said what he said.”

Are you kidding me?

How can the AIA say it conducted a thorough investigation when it never gave Taylor the opportunity to explain his actions? Maybe his answers wouldn’t have changed anything. Maybe the e-mails are a smoking gun, so to speak. But isn’t there a possibility, even a slight one, that his answers could have changed the course of the investigation?

Again, I don’t know whether Taylor is guilty of recruiting. But that the AIA didn’t see the need to talk to him during its investigation is absurd.

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