Girls basketball players suspended, Xenia coach cited

At least seven area girls varsity high school basketball players have been hit with two-game suspensions for violating an Ohio High School Athletic Association rule after participating in a non-sanctioned practice last Friday.

The players are believed to be from Xenia, Beavercreek, Kenton Ridge, Fairmont and Springboro. As many as 40 to 60 girls may have participated at Wilberforce University under the direction of former Xenia varsity girls head coach Terry Toliver.

OHSAA assistant commissioner Jerry Snodgrass confirmed the suspensions on Monday, but wouldn’t identify players or schools. He said more two-game suspensions will be forthcoming.

Xenia athletic director Mark Stoll said on Monday that Toliver has been relieved of his coaching position and that Xenia had no prior knowledge about the event. Stoll apologized in an email to schools of involved players:

“I would like to apologize for the reckless behavior of our girls basketball coach,” he said. “We do not condone his actions, nor were we aware of this event. We find his actions inexcusable and unprofessional. His actions have created issues for all schools involved, but, above all, they have hurt those young people that were following the lead of a trusted adult. For the record, Terry Toliver is no longer the head girls basketball coach at Xenia High School.”

Toliver was in his third season as the Bucs’ head coach. He reportedly was starting a girls AAU program that would begin this spring.

Snodgrass said the particular rule — 7.2.1 — has been in place “a long time” and that every head coach in all sports must attend a preseason conference in which such rules and transgressions are addressed. Essentially, high school players are not permitted to participate in any other event in the same sport during an ongoing season.

“There aren’t a lot of excuses for coaches not knowing,” said Snodgrass.

Most teams affected are in the first or second round of the sectional tournament. Games will be forfeited if those teams have girls who attended the workout, played in games and are later suspended. Suspensions could be carried over to next season if not fulfilled.

Kenton Ridge head coach Ed Foulk said 40 to 60 girls of all grades participated in the workout and that the snow-out of most games on Saturday likely prevented teams from unknowingly using ineligble players.

“I think there’s a lot of kids who may have gone and are trying to slip away from (admitting) it, but they’re going to find out if they do they’ll have to forfeit their games,” he said. “I’m sure there were a lot of disgruntled coaches on Friday night and Saturday.”

Amanda Jones has been promoted to Xenia’s interim head coach for Tuesday’s Division I sectional opener against top-seeded Springboro at Wayne.

Toliver wouldn’t speak on the record but issued a statement of apology.

“When you wear multiple hats as I do as a high school coach, personal trainer and non-scholastic program director, the lines of which hat is being worn gets blurred,” he said in the statement.

“Regarding this specific incident, the OHSAA has chosen to put the non-scholastic hat on my head. In life, we all have do-overs we would like to have and this incident is one of mine. To that extent, I have the deepest regrets and sincerely apologize to the players, parents and high school coaches whose high school season that may have been put in jeopardy.”