The Berlin High School football team, which has a winning 7-2 record, will forfeit several winning games and is banned from post-season play over recruiting violations. The team will also be on probation for a year and is facing a hefty fine.
The CIAC began investigating the athletic department after allegations surfaced that some students were being moved from another town so they would be eligible to play football in Berlin and the school will be fined $4,000 -- $1,000 for each of four ineligible players. The CIAC posted a short release, but did not say what they found.
“The CIAC Board of Control voted in a meeting Wednesday afternoon to accept a self-report from Berlin High School for violations of CIAC rules by its football program,” a news release from the CIAC says.
Sources told NBC Connecticut that some of the players moved from the New Britain school system to Berlin.
Berlin Superintendent David B. Erwin issued a statement, saying, "We have received the sanctions from the CIAC. They (CIAC) have done a very thorough job. We feel badly for the for the boys, but we hope that they put their best foot forward when they play this Friday night.”
He also acknowledged that the football players "worked their hearts out this year" and that "to have it come down to forfeiting games is never pleasant in any case and that it is "kinda sad to see that come down."
The Board of Control for the CIAC and school approved and accepted the following violations:
- Forfeiture of all football victories this season in which any ineligible player participated.
- Prohibition from CIAC Championship competition for the football program for the 2015 season.
- Probation for one year for the football program. The CIAC probation is defined as a period of trial during which the school is monitored to determine compliance with requirements of CIAC regulations.
- The school is fined $4,000 – or $1,000 for each ineligible player.
- The ineligible athletes will be permanently ineligible to participate in athletic competition if they remain at Berlin high school.
- If the ineligible students transfer to another CIAC member school, they will be ineligible to participate in athletic competition for the remainder of the 2015-16 school year and 50 percent of the 2016 fall season.
Berlin Supt. David Erwin previously said the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, or CIAC, was reviewing the residencies of the whole football team.
“We’re just wanting to make sure that all the students that are playing on our Berlin High School football team are indeed legitimate students living here in Berlin,” Erwin said.
The allegations were against head football coach, John Capodice, who’s coached at the school for around 18 years. Erwin said Capodice has not been suspended, and games and practices are continuing as planned.
Capodice has hired an attorney in response to allegations that he let ineligible players onto his team.
Attorney Viral Keshwala, whis is representing Capodice, said he is currently not facing any consequences from the school district or the CIAC.
"Coach came to me stressed out with the situation, being attacked from all sides. He wasn't really being given due process and he's allowed to have outside counsel in the CIAC investigation," Keshwala said.
Students are not eligible to play if they have poor grades, have been suspended or don’t reside in the same area where they play sports.