OSSAA Board President Speaks Out On Jenks Investigation

Sunday, October 4th 2009, 11:21 pm
By: News On 6

By Kyle Dierking, OKBlitz.com

TULSA, OK -- The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association board will review the findings of Jenks' independent investigation on Wednesday and will decide if the school district faces any additional penalties.

"Those are good people and mistakes are made," said TPS athletic director and OSSAA board president Dr. Stephanie Spring. "Do I see Jenks coming back from this? Absolutely."

Jenks released a 44-page report on October 2, which examined the eligibility of Trojan football player Jarrett Lake. The investigation also found instances with six other unnamed students where the Jenks athletic department had violated OSSAA rules, including rule 9, which regulates inappropriate recruiting incentives for athletes.

Read the findings of the Jenks' athletic department investigation

Spring, who is in her fourth year on the OSSAA board and her first as the OSSAA board president, says this is the most significant case in her tenure on the board.

The Trojans have been a dominate football team, winning state championships in each of Allan Trimble's first six seasons as head coach. Overall, he has nine titles in 13 years running the Jenks football team.

Trimble is suspended for the remainder of the 2009 season, while athletic director Tony Dillingham is taking a 15-day suspension without pay. Additionally, offensive line coach David Alexander is in the midst of serving a two-game suspension and unpaid assistant coach Clyde "Red" Griffith cannot participate in any activity with the Jenks football team for the remainder of the school year.

10/3/2009  Related Story: IN DEPTH: Jenks Athletic Department Investigation

"The steps Jenks has taken, I thought they were substantial," Spring said, who is one of 14 school administrators from around Oklahoma serving on the OSSAA board. "I thought it sent a message for their school district and their program of what they're going to tolerate and what they won't. Will there be more? I can't say, but do I think what they did was strong? Yes I do."

Jenks superintendant Dr. Kirby Lehman said during an October 2 news conference that he hopes there will be no further penalties from the OSSAA.

"That's really what the OSSAA asks member schools to do, 'please school, conduct your investigation, you impose penalties,'" Lehman said. "We have imposed, in my estimation, some substantial penalties."

Jenks will name a compliance officer before the end of the school year. That person will be responsible for looking over policies and procedures as well as quarterly audits of the athletic department. Summaries of those audits will be submitted to the OSSAA for at least the next two years.

"You're talking about the most high-profile football program in the state," Spring said. "With the circumstances they're in, maybe they feel like at this point and time that they need to outsource (compliance) and have somebody else come in and do that."

According to the investigation, there were several things wrong with the eligibility of Lake, ranging from his place of residence to his eligibility form.

"I tell my coaches every year, the speech they get from me every year is, ‘if you have a kid walk in and you don't know where they came from then you better find out because somebody knows. You better make sure the reasons why they're in your program are legitimate and that the eligibility is verified,'" Spring said.

For the latest, visit OKBlitz.com.