Scott Springer on the 2016 Walnut Hills football team.
Walnut Hills High School and its football coach Brian Lainhart have agreed to part ways in light of new evidence presented by the Ohio High School Athletic Association of recruiting violations. The decision to not re-employ Lainhart was first reported by The Enquirer early Wednesday afternoon. Cincinnati Public Schools were notified of the violations Tuesday night.
From the CPS statement issued late Wednesday afternoon:
Cincinnati Public Schools previously was aware that legal representatives of Lainhart, who coached varsity football at Walnut Hills last fall, were involved in discussions with representatives of the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) regarding Lainhart’s coaching permit status.
Lainhart was issued a Certificate of Qualification for Employment in November 2015. He refiled a request for a Pupil Activities Permit with the Ohio Department of Education in February 2016.
Coaches at CPS high schools are hired for the season in which they work; Lainhart has concluded his coaching duties for this school year’s coaching season.
The violations involved Lainhart improperly text-messaging and otherwise improperly contacting students from other high school teams in an apparent effort to recruit them, according to the OHSAA.
“These are serious violations and clearly against the rules,” Joshua Hardin, Cincinnati Public Schools Athletics Manager said. “We certainly do not condone this behavior, and it is disappointing that it occurred.”
The Eagles were 4-6 this past football season under their first-year coach and 1-6 in the Eastern Cincinnati Conference.
“Brian is a wonderful and talented young man,” Walnut Hills Principal Jeff Brokamp said. “Everyone here grew very fond of him as far as his work ethic, but everyone has to follow the rules. Relative to recruiting, we draw a hard line.”
The eligibility of Lainhart and assistant Cobrani Mixon had been up in the air with attorneys meeting with the Ohio Department of Education.
Neither coach was licensed by the ODE to have a Pupil Activity Permit, required to coach by the Ohio High School Athletic Association. Both Lainhart and Mixon were denied in 2016 and Lainhart was previously denied in December 2013 prior to joining the St. Xavier staff.
When reached by email, St. Xavier responded, “It is a policy for us not to comment on the personnel issues of our employees or former employees.”
He originally applied for a paraprofessional job, but was eventually hired as an unpaid volunteer according to public records requested by The Enquirer’s Hannah Sparling. His primary job listed is as a successful sales consultant for HP Products. Records show he passed a local background check and a FBI/BCII background check and was declared eligible by the Cincinnati Public Schools Department of Human Resources Dec. 30, 2015.
However, he was never officially cleared with a Pupil Activity Permit after being denied in 2013 and when he re-applied in 2016.
The denials come as a result of a felony conviction in 2008 when both were at Kent State. Lainhart and Mixon and a third Kent State player pleaded guilty to an amended charge of burglary, a fourth-degree felony with other charges dropped as part of plea deals according to various news accounts.
Lainhart did complete a Certificate for Qualification for Employment, which under a state legislative program is designed to gain relief from restrictions preventing those with criminal records from being licensed in various fields.
Last month, the OHSAA referred inquiries to the ODE who confirmed to The Enquirer that Lainhart was not licensed. The latest evidence of recruiting made the issue a moot point.
Late Wednesday afternoon, OHSAA administrators were meeting on the matter with release expected later in the day or Thursday.