By Ian Perrotta
It looks like the Hamtramck High School football scandal will not go into overtime this season. Former Head Coach Tarif Kumasi has resigned and it appears the school has concluded its self-initiated internal investigation into the program.
So what exactly happened?
There were two separate incidents that turned out to be violations of Michigan High School Athletic Association (MSHAA) regulations.
The first involved transcript inaccuracies regarding an individual player. In a letter from MHSAA Executive Director John E. Roberts to Hamtramck Public Schools Superintendent Tom Niczay dated Oct. 2, Roberts thanked Niczay as well as Athletic Director Adam Mused and Director of Pupil Services Terry George for reporting the violations to MHSAA, clarifying the purported violations.
“We understand that incomplete transcripts were submitted from the now closed Cleveland Intermediate High School,” Roberts wrote, “which were later corrected and found to have included an additional semester not previously recorded.”
That violation does not appear to be intentional. However, the second violation has more ominous implications. Roberts went on to write that Niczay reported that at least three students participated in five games while ineligible due to unauthorized changes to their grades.
The changes to players’ past transcripts made them appear to possess a satisfactory academic record, allowing them to participate in MHSAA activities. Former Head Coach Kumasi was found to be responsible for the alterations and was suspended by the school until Wednesday’s (Oct. 14) School Board meeting when boardmembers were to decide his fate. However, the coach resigned before further action could be taken.
In the conclusion of the letter, Roberts noted that the school district’s actions helped lessen the impact the violations could have potentially had.
“Because of the actions of Hamtramck High School to self-police and report and other disciplinary actions,” he wrote, “we will accept the forfeitures and record these violations without additional penalty or sanction at this time.”
As for former Head Coach Kumasi’s fate, he was spared the distinction of being fired by resigning.
In Kumasi’s resignation letter, he acknowledged the “circumstances and preceding investigation” as being the reason for his departure. He also expressed sorrow for his actions but did not offer an explanation.
“It is unfortunate how the events turned out,” he wrote, “and I am deeply apologetic for the outcome.”