Dayton schools sue, accuse state of ‘spite’ in Dunbar forfeit; OHSAA issues statement

DAYTON — UPDATE @ 5:45 p.m.

The director of communications for the Ohio High School Athletic Association, Tim Stried, issued a statement Friday on behalf of the organization:

“It is never something that the OHSAA wants to do, in terms of removing a school from any tournament. We feel terrible abut the fact that that was needed to happen. Our executive Director, Dr. Dan Ross, made it very clear that he felt terrible that we needed to do this. However, our member schools do have these by laws put in place and it is the OHSAA's job to enforce them.”


Dayton Public Schools took legal action Friday to block the Ohio High School Athletic Association from removing Dunbar High School from postseason play.

The school board’s legal filing Friday claims that OHSAA’s ruling was “without either factual or legal basis” and that its conclusions are “motivated by spite, ill will, and/or a desire to do harm to DPS and Dunbar High School students.”

Dayton sought a temporary restraining order in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court. If approved, it would allow the Dunbar High School boys basketball team to compete in the postseason tournament. The challenge came one day after the Ohio High School Athletic Association removed them from that tournament.

Sunday’s tournament game has been suspended, pending the legal action, and officials said it will be rescheduled to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday. Originally, Dunbar was to play Fenwick, but the OHSAA ruled Dunbar out and reinstated Thurgood Marshall, which had lost in the last round to Dunbar.

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The OHSAA cited Dunbar’s use of an ineligible player in its last tournament game, and the school’s failure to enforce suspensions against multiple junior varsity players stemming from a Jan. 10 on-court fight during a game.

In its court filing Friday, Dayton Public Schools included an affidavit from Dunbar junior varsity coach Donnovan Brown. Brown claims that a “John Doe” player who splits time between the junior varsity and varsity teams is the player OHSAA said should have been suspended, but played in a Dunbar tournament game Feb. 23.

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Brown says in his affidavit that he watched video of the altercation twice – the day after it happened and again this week – and the “John Doe” player was not involved in the fight, so he was not suspended.

In the primary court complaint, DPS’ attorney wrote that “at no point between Jan. 10, 2018, and Feb. 23, 2018, did any OHSAA official advise DPS administrators at either Dunbar or Thurgood Marshall that all players leaving the bench area during the altercation were or should have been suspended for two games.”

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