GALION – On Tuesday, the Ohio High School Athletic Association put the Galion High School Athletic Department on probation for two years. Galion was fined $750 and has to submit an action plan to OHSAA for educating coaches about bylaws to avoid future violations.
Galion High School Athletic Director Kyle Baughn, in his first month on the job, has been facing a difficult situation with little experience. He does see a bright future after all of the dust settles.
“I am in the process of submitting an action plan but cannot release anything about it until it is official and accepted by the OHSAA. But my goal in all of this is to make sure that all of our coaches are on the same page because some of these bylaws and rules are tough to understand,” Baughn said.
“I want to make sure that I help the coaches in any way possible, because they have a job of helping our youth. I am going to make sure I am available for open communication so that there is no confusion if something we decide to do is violating or not,” Baughn added.
As a result of the OHSAA investigation, football coach Chris Hawkins has been suspended for two games; he plans to appeal.
The terms of the two-year probation does not include a post-season ban. The player in question has also been suspended one game. The penalties will not affect other sports.
“The probation is mainly to make sure that we are more aware of what we are doing. Our goal has always been to do everything by the book and I would say 99.9 percent of the time we have — and the .1 percent, we did not know we were violating rules and they were honest mistakes. The rules are not always just black and white. So, we are going to work together as a school to make sure we understand everything and we will come out stronger when it is all said and done,” Baughn said.
Baughn supports the coach’s appeal.
“I hope Coach Hawkins does win his appeal, but it is also my duty as athletic director to move forward with the process. My No. 1 objective is to support my coaches and make sure that we communicate well enough to make sure there is no doubt that we will follow everything by the book,” Baughn said.
Hawkins maintained his innocence Monday. He said he has never recruited a player and never will. He also knows a student athlete is being hurt in all of this.
“That may be what hurts the most is that a kid is being punished when he did nothing wrong. High school football games are so precious because there are not a whole lot of them in a career. Sure it is just one game, but that one game is an opportunity to make a lifetime of memories,” Hawkins later added.
The OHSAA released a statement Wednesday afternoon:
“The Galion High School head football coach violated several OHSAA bylaws that prohibit recruiting student-athletes to a school for athletic reasons. The coach has been suspended for two games and the school must submit an action plan for educating its coaches of OHSAA bylaws. The school has also been fined and placed on probation for two years. In addition, a student-athlete who was recruited by the coach and has transferred to Galion has been suspended for one game. The OHSAA is disappointed in the actions of the coach, who disregarded the bylaws that the member schools, including Galion, have voted into place.”
More details as to the action plan and the results of Hawkins’ appeal will be made available later.