GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – D.H. Conley High School head football coach Brian Paschal has been suspended for one year by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.
The school found out the decision on Thursday afternoon. Read the full nchsaa document.
Pitt County Schools says the ruling is the result of the association’s investigation into an alleged violation of NCHSAA Rule 1.2 regarding Recruiting/Undue Influence. The NCHSAA Handbook expressly prohibits recruiting and undue influence. Rule 1.2.1 states “no student shall be subjected to undue influence by an individual or group of individuals to induce or cause him to transfer from one school to another for athletics purposes.”
According to the NCHSAA Handbook, “undue influence” consists of actions taken for the purpose and intent of soliciting or encouraging the enrollment of a student-athlete in a school” including but not limited to a number of enumerated reasons (Rule 1.2.4, p. 26).
“Based on the information provided to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association, we made the determination that the penalties for the alleged violations are in line with what our rules and regulations allow,” NCHSAA Interim Commissioner Que Tucker said. “The fact that Coach Paschal was already on probation for a previous violation also factored into the final decision. It is always very disappointing when penalties have to be levied against any member school, and we also understand that these sorts of situations do impact lots of people, including student-athletes themselves. But our task is to apply the rules as fairly and consistently as possible, based on the information we have. We appreciate the cooperation of the Pitt County Schools and D.H. Conley in working through this situation.”
UPDATE 7/17: On Friday, WNCT received the letter sent from the NCHSAA to D.H. Conley principal Don Marr. Included in the letter were references of text messages from one D.H. Conley player to a pair of North Pitt players. There wasn’t any direct communication between Conley and the North Pitt players in question outside of the June 9 meeting, which Paschal admits occurred. To see the full letter, refer to the link above. Meanwhile, through his lawyer, Paschal still stands by his innocence.
Paschal is suspended and prohibited from coaching, attending, or participating, in any way, in any sport, at any NCHSAA member school for a period of 365 days from the date of the alleged violation, June 9. D.H. Conley’s athletic program is now on probation for a period of 365 days from the date of the alleged violation, June 9. D.H. Conley is also fined $500, however, the fine will be suspended provided no further violations occur within the 365-day probation period.
Paschal remains suspended by Pitt County Schools, and school system officials will evaluate his status in the near future. A statement from the school system is included below.
“Pitt County Schools has cooperated fully with the North Carolina High School Athletic Association investigation into allegations against Mr. Paschal, and we respect the decision announced Thursday. We recognize that this issue has been a divisive one in our community, but it is our hope that everyone will now reflect and move forward so we can get our focus back on building a brighter future for our community by producing moral, literate, and productive citizens.”
UPDATE 7/16: Conley Athletic Director Rob Maloney released a statement to WNCT and it is below.
“We were hoping to receive better news from the NCHSAA concerning Coach Paschal. While we are disappointed in the decision we will follow their instructions. The football program will maintain it’s current course for the time being until further decisions are made.”– Rob Maloney, D.H. Conley Athletic Director
UPDATE 7/16: WNCT Sports reached out to Paschal on Thursday night and Paschal confirmed the suspension. He added that while the situation is very upsetting, he maintains his innocence. He also added that’s he cannot comment further until instructed to do so by his attorney.