Oak Park boys basketball coach Bryant Tipton has resigned amid allegations he changed the grades of some of his players to keep them eligible.
Oak Park superintendent Dr. Daveda Colbert first learned of concerns over players’ grades last Thursday and immediately suspended Tipton, who did not return calls to the Free Press.
“After being given an example of the concern,” Colbert wrote in an e-mail to the Free Press, “which resulted in three students not being able to participate in the competition the next day, as well as, the coach being suspended.”
Tipton, in his second year at Oak Park, met with Colbert Monday and resigned. He was 21-10 at the school, winning Oakland Activities Association White Division and Class A district titles last year.
Athletic director and football coach Greg Carter coached the basketball team Friday and will remain interim head coach for the remainder of the season.
Colbert said the investigation is not limited to the basketball program, although there is no evidence grades of athletes in other sports were changed.
“Right now I’ve only been alerted to this,” she said. “This is the first it’s ever even come up. Right now, this appears to be isolated, but we are not ready to close the investigation until we have looked at everything. I’ve been given a few more things to look into, but as of today, it remains isolated to one group.”
The Oak Park district demands athletes maintain a 2.0 grade point average to remain eligible, which is more rigid than the Michigan High School Athletic Association minimum standard that mandates a student must be passing four classes, without regard to GPA.
Colbert pointed out that Oak Park students with learning disabilities or cognitive impairments do not have to meet the 2.0 standard to be eligible, but they must meet the MHSAA guidelines.
Colbert is concerned what the investigation will do to Oak Park’s reputation. She emphasized that although the investigation is ongoing, it appears to involve only Tipton, who also resigned as a behavior interventionist at the school.
“This, of course, is making a mess out of my district and I hate that because one person should not spoil this,” Colbert told the Free Press. “I have kids on there with 3.9s, nobody’s talking about them — nobody changed their grades. And that’s not even the story I want told. I just don’t want them to make a mess out of kids who really work hard and do what they’re supposed to do.”
Contact Mick McCabe: 313-223-4744 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @mickmccabe1.
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