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Sabino HS Recruiting Probe: 2 players will not participate

Posted at 10:01 PM, Aug 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-02 10:28:03-04

More details are being released about the recruiting investigation into the Sabino Baseball team -- recently crowed 3A state champions. TUSD is conducting the probe following a complaint that the head coach illegally recruited players from other high schools.

Superintendent Gabriel Trujillo reveals the number of players and parents involved in the investigation. 

10 Sabino baseball players alleged to have been illegally recruited by head coach Mark Chandler. The names listed in the complaint.

"The investigation focuses on 10 transfer students that we have to ask very specific questions about recruiting practices and what they have experienced," said Trujillo.

The complaint states "all players listed had prior contact with Mark Chandler, his assistants or an intermediary for the specific intent of playing baseball at Sabino HS" and "Chandler made no effort to hide his intentions to recruit players as the Head Coach." 

The Arizona Interscholastic Association rules are clear -- no recruiting allowed. Superintendent Gabriel Trujillo says the district has interviewed 6 of the 10 players and parents.

"2 parents who have notified us that they are not willing to have their students come on the records or participate in the investigation. There are 2 more parents that have not committed to allowing their students to participate in the investigation, but they also have not taken it off the table. They have informed us they are just seeking outside counsel before they make a decision to having their student participate in the investigation," said Trujillo.
Trujillo says the investigation is primarily focused on two transfer players "and concerns about the allegations by this one complainant center around potentially illegal and allegedly illegal recruitment practices and violations of eligibility in regards to the two players participation and what would be deemed in season activities," said Trujillo.

Trujillo says the baseball coaches are cooperating with the investigation. He says the district only focused on the transferred players -- a reason he hasn't asked the other players and parents to take part in the probe. But they can write statements or submit character testimonies. "We have offered to make that part of the overall investigative packet that we would be turning into the AIA and Governing Board because we want those students to have a voice as well," said Trujillo. 

The findings will be handed over to the board in executive session August 14th. Trujillo says it will be up to the board to decide on whether the findings will be released to the public. Possible consequences of recruiting violations range from a warning to losing the 2018 state title.