Dayton Public Schools officials received seven automated email notifications from the Ohio High School Athletic Association in January and February concerning discipline for Dunbar High School boys basketball players who had been involved in a Jan. 10 fight, according to Elizabeth Lolli, acting superintendent of Dayton Public Schools.
Lolli, attending the county’s annual Kindergarten Readiness Summit on Friday morning, said she was not positive exactly which DPS staff received those notifications, saying the issue was still being investigated.
“After the game referee filed his report, the Ohio High School Athletic Association sends an automated message to whomever is on that report, so I have to look at that report to see who it went to,” Lolli said.
She said all of the OHSAA’s communication was through automated emails, not phone calls to district leadership.
Lolli’s comments came after OHSAA Commissioner Dr. Dan Ross on Thursday said DPS did not respond to multiple attempts of communication over the last two months about the suspensions. The final of seven attempts was noon Wednesday.
Dunbar’s boys basketball team was disqualified from the ongoing state postseason tournament this week. OHSAA officials said that is because only one of seven student-athletes suspended two games for the Jan. 10 incident against Thurgood Marshall actually served the suspension.
At least seven Thurgood players sat out the required two games after that regular-season fight, and Thurgood has been put back into the tournament in Dunbar’s place, because they are the team that most recently lost to Dunbar in the tournament.
Dunbar and Thurgood are both Dayton Public Schools. Each school has its own building athletic director, and DPS has a districtwide athletic director, Mark Baker, who oversees all of its schools.
“Thurgood Marshall did exactly what you are supposed to do,” OHSAA Commissioner Dan Ross said on Thursday. “It’s really puzzling when you’re in the same district, and you have one (school) that did absolutely perfect what they were supposed to do and the other did not. We don’t know the reasons for any of the pieces behind it.”
Lolli confirmed Friday that there are five people primarily in the chain of command for Dunbar basketball – the junior varsity and varsity coaches, the individual school athletic director and principal, plus Baker.
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She said there is OHSAA training for all of those staff each school year. Asked whether someone in that chain of command should have escalated the issue over the past six weeks, she would not comment.
Lolli also would not comment on whether any of those DPS employees have been disciplined, and said as of Friday morning no decision had been made on whether the school district would attempt any type of legal challenge to allow Dunbar to keep playing.