DPS Athletics asks who’s on first?

Abbot and Costello had a skit about funny names in baseball called “Who’s on first” and while it was funny, the Dayton Public Schools rendition tops it in complexity and isn’t funny at all.

The players? three Powells, a Pullen, a Baker and a candlestick maker (actually two principals, Ms. Phillips – Dunbar,  and Ms. Walter, Belmont). Throw in a Bullens in a China store and the whole thing becomes more complex than it has to be.

While we already published Director of School Security Jamie Bullens report on the ineligible player and the OHSAA findings, we are still waiting for the transcripts of Mr. Bullens initial interviews, which were conducted individually, soon after the initial Belmont/Dunbar thrown game attempt.

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The Transcripts from two OHSAA hearings on Belmont-Dunbar thrown game. Redacting players name

What we have for you today, is transcripts of the two visits to the OHSAA board. The first, is right after the game, on Oct. 31, 2016. The second, is on 27 Feb, 2017 which also had Mr. Bullens in attendance. The name of the player has been redacted.

They read like the skit- “who’s on first.” At one point, even the stenographer gets confused with all the Powells and starts referring to one as “Dr.” and another is Uncle Albert.

What becomes ridiculously obvious is that the coaches, the building athletic director and the district athletic director have no clue on how to calculate eligibility. It’s pretty clear that both building principals knew- and made it clear that the kid in question wasn’t eligible.

There was also a bit of finger pointing- since the Belmont principal accessed the district system to check the eligibility of the Dunbar player and was the one who informed the Dunbar Principal, who ostensibly didn’t know he was ineligible. At this point, no one had figured out that he had already played the previous week and was ineligible then. #FAIL

The coaches hadn’t played the player, but had let him dress for “team photos” the night of the big game. This was a mistake of convenience, and set the scene for the next screw up- which is being piled on District AD Mark Baker who supposedly came to the game and had started recalculating grades- something he, Pete Pullen and the Powells shouldn’t have been allowed to do.

It’s pretty obvious reading the transcripts that we’re dealing with athletes, not scholars. The grammar is abysmal. Why was it so important this kid play? Dunbar was winning without him. The answer comes down to either- because he’s got people looking at him for scholarship, or, the more likely reason, he’s related to one of the coaching staff. (updated Wed May 7, 2017 after confirmation that this is not true from an informed reader. We drew this from the OSHAA transcript- but it was talking about the Powell’s relationship- sorry).

Either way, it’s clear that the Principals both said don’t play him, laying the blame clearly on the coaches, the building AD and the district AD. Who came up with the insane idea to lose the game to try to make this all OK- doesn’t really matter at this point. None of these people demonstrated the kind of personal integrity we’d expect from coaches. The kids grades sucked. He shouldn’t have been playing the week before, he shouldn’t have dressed, and the real question is why none of these people had been able to explain to him that there is no future for him in sports if he can’t get better grades.

We have to do better. Building AD Pete Pullen resigned from his AD position. That was the right thing to do. As to the Powells and Baker? Maybe we should use the Mark Baker solution to work things out- let them all fight each other.  (Baker let his basketball players fight at Trotwood- ending his coaching tenure there).

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Bullens 2nd Report- after OHSAA investigations

However, the smoking gun belongs to the former Dayton cop who heads security for DPS. Jamie Bullens did two investigations, and seemed to ignore the issue that brought the censure- the who told who to throw the game. Trough both his first report, he doesn’t  mention it. He seems to have not asked for the OHSAA transcript from Oct. 31st. And in his second report, to the board, because Joe Lacey seemed to miss the whole thrown game part of the sanctions, only having read Bullens’ first report- he again, barely scratches the surface of what the OHSAA transcript reveals.

It becomes clear his directive was to protect Baker and shift blame to the Powells and Pullen. It’s the Inspector Clouseau report- not the Magnum PI report.

In the meantime, “A. Powell” claimed to have a recording of Baker telling him to throw the game, but lost it after sharing with just a few people. The real question is did any of them save it- and will it surface next?

The Board rushed last week to extend Baker’s contract for two years. Soon after, the anonymous letter outlines plenty of other problems with Baker. Tonight, they unveiled their “Accountability Plan for Transforming DPS Athletics” which was presented by Dr. Winston. Board member Sheila Taylor practically fell all over herself to congratulate Dr. Winston and Mark Baker for coming up with this new system. It’s integrated with a new electronic HR system implemented by HR Director Judy Spurlock.

I’ll have it posted tomorrow. What else was revealed tonight is that there are conditions for employment that aren’t included in the publicly posted job descriptions. You have to actually login and begin the application process to find these conditions.

I just applied to be a coach.
Here they are, hidden behind a login:

Questionnaire Form

You are required to fill out this questionnaire to continue with this request.

* Have you had any reprimands (verbal or written) related to your coaching responsibilities in Dayton Public Schools or any other school district?
* Have you had any OHSAA allegations related to your coaching responsibilities in Dayton Public Schools or any other school district?
* Have you had any OHSAA violations related to your coaching responsibilities in Dayton Public Schools or any other school district?
Why did the district do this? To not rehire the Powells and Pullen. Yet, Baker already had a 2 year contract previous to these restrictions being put in place.

There is no excuse for this.
Baker was the one who was trying to recalculate the grades mid-game, when the principal’s had already said no and the head coach hadn’t played the kid. Take him out of this equation, and none of this would have happened.

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Millennial Medical dissolution filing

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Dissolving Montgomery Medical

Factor in the other allegations in the anonymous letter- and a full investigation is warranted, but not by Bullens. It has to be an independent investigation at this point.

That the Board is adding these conditions, that they rushed to rehire Baker, all point to a lack of integrity that fits with their former actions- from the RIF, the real estate deals, the marketing contract, the rehire of Corr despite her poor performance, their inability to police their own member who doesn’t live in the district and then does the purchase deal on the buses despite his conflict of interest and then votes on it.

If you need any further proof that Baguirov is being given time to manufacture his defense- he’s now shut down two of his shell corporations since I  first revealed them in the post: International Man of Mystery: Adil Baguirov on April 5, 2017.

There is plenty wrong with this district, but the best explanation of it comes from the transcript of the OHSAA hearing in February- unfortunately, we don’t know if it is Albert or Alfred:”MR. A. POWELL: The district is broken.”
Abbot and Costello couldn’t have said it better.

Dayton Public Schools policy change will speed exodus

While the school board sits scratching their heads why they can’t keep staff (even after it’s explained to them over and over) and they do things that make no sense (failing to investigate Baguirov’s residency, giving Corr a raise and a 2 year extension, retaining Mark Baker as AD, the layoffs in the fall….) we now have a new rule which will further hasten the exit of staff from the district.

From one posting of many that went live yesterday on the The Greater Dayton Area School Employment Consortium site:

Due to the increased duties and requirements from the district and the OHSAA standards, building athletic directors will not be considered for coaching positions.

Source: Dayton Public Schools – Building Athletic Director

Currently, the coaching and building athletic director positions are “supplemental contracts” in addition to an employee’s pay. By being both a coach and a building AD, it’s possible to boost your pay by $15,000 a year – and have pay comparable to what a regular teacher would make anywhere else.

This new provision may be in violation of the current Dayton Education Association contract with the school, but my attempts to clarify that haven’t yet been fruitful.

A week ago Friday, Dunbar Coach Darren Powell was quoted in the paper, and a story ran the following Sunday that he still had his position for next year. Monday the board informed the paper that this wasn’t true, as they had not voted on any supplemental contracts. The paper ran a retraction on Tuesday. Powell was told to shut up and not talk to the media, at least until after the Mark Baker situation had resolved- which lead to the long executive session on Wednesday and the eventual 5-1 vote to rehire him- even though his contract, like the one for Superintendent Corr and Treasurer Abraha could have been voted on later. This board like to try to sweep it’s dirt under the rug as fast as possible hoping no one notices that the dirt is turning into a mountain.

Once again, coaches are in limbo. Conditioning for football has already begun for the fall season, without a contract, who is supposed to be in charge? And when you are both a coach and a building AD- which applies to about half the Football coaches- which job is more important to you? And, with the choice- is it time to take your skills elsewhere? Earl White has turned Belmont from a sports joke into a multi-sport contender in three years. Do you think he, with his 21 years experience, a masters degree in educational leadership, won’t be recruited to go to the suburbs? The postings expire in 10 days- leaving a very small window for the coaches and AD’s to chose their future path.

An anonymous letter has been circulating with serious allegations about other issues with Baker. It has been seen by members of the School Board, coaches, athletic directors. I do not believe in anonymous letters, but, since I can’t seem to get full transcripts of interviews with everyone involved on the Dunbar/Belmont fiasco- or the transcript of the OHSAA hearing, I’m running it.

To Whom It May Concern:
This letter is out of deep desperation and my genuine concern for the students, coaches, athletic directors and all associated with the Dayton Public School District. I find that I must convey my disgust with what I have observed over the last seven months related to the Dayton Public Schools athletic programs and its appointed leader Mr. Mark Baker. Mr. Baker is under qualified for the job, and with each blunder, such suspicions are proving to be true. He was promised the DPS AD job before ever interviewing for the position by then Dayton Public Schools Chief of Schools Innovation, Mr. David Lawrence. Once evidence produced suggested that Mr. Baker was given an unfair advantage for the job, second interviews were immediately granted to all the candidates. The next time, a qualified candidate was recommended for the DPS district AD job, only to have his offer rescinded due to supposed public pressure and for the second time, Mr. Baker was handed the DPS AD job despite the fact he had no athletic director experience. Clearly, the fix was on.
The point of this letter of complaint is to bring to your attention a few major infractions that have occurred under Mr. Baker’s leadership, that to my knowledge has never been reported to the OHSAA. Mr. Baker on several occasions has purposely withheld significant violations that occurred in DPS from the OHSAA other than the Dunbar Early College High School football team using an ineligible football player in the fall of 2016, and he only reported that because it was self-serving. Also as a whistleblower, I must show how Mr. Baker’s gross incompetence has placed Dayton Public Schools and OHSAA at grave risk. Mr. Baker’s leadership style is confrontational and consists of intimidation and lying.
Mr. Baker proudly lets everyone know that he’s above reproach because he believes he has the complete backing of the Dayton Board of Education, Superintendent and OHSAA. Mr. Baker’s ineptitude causes him to call other athletic directors Statewide for answers to the simplest questions concerning eligibility and rule interpretations.
The following infractions and incidents occurred in 2016 and 2017 can be collaborated (sic) with any effort of a simple inquiry or investigation by your office:

  1. In October of 2016, Ponitz ere High School, Freshman football team permitted a highly sought after private school seventh grader to play in their Freshman football game. The player in question is the son of the Ponitz assistant football coach, Mr. Derrick Shepard. When this incident began to leak to the public, Mr. Baker instructed the head football coach, Jim Place at Ponitz to handle the issue internally, and he wouldn’t report the incident to the OHSAA, and he didn’t. Coach Shepard received a suspension for the remainder of the football season, and it was one or two games with pay.
  2. Mr. Baker permitted serval players from Community Schools in September 2016 to play football for Meadowdale High School without properly vetting their eligibility. After two games into the season, it was determined by the Meadowvale AD that the two players were indeed academically ineligible. Mr. Baker informed the Meadowdale head football coach that the players could continue to play because he didn’t want to punish the players for his mistake. Meadowdale lost both games in question but Mr. Baker never self-reported the player’s illegal participation to the OHSAA.
  3. During Meadowdale High School 2016 Senior Football Night celebration Mr. Baker became furious once he learned the Meadowdale AD and football coach had failed to put a pre-game program together to recognize its senior football players. Mr. Baker entered the press box at Welcome Stadium and verbally reprimanded the Meadowdale AD. Mr. Baker then angrily came into Meadowdale football locker room before the start of the game and disrespectfully verbally lashed out on the head coach in the presence of his players and staff. Out of anger, Mr . Baker physically assaulted the coach in front of witnesses. Several Dayton Public School security staff had to separate them. Coincidentally, the head coach wasn’t rehired. The coach was informed one of the reasons was because he played ineligible players during the season, the very players Mr. Baker himself cleared to play.
  4. In December 2016 the Meadowdale Head Football job was posted. In February 2017 Meadowdale High School granted interviews to fill the job. A selection committee selected Mr. Len Hampton. Mr. Hampton’s interview took placed (sic) without Mr. Baker’s knowledge. However, Mr. Baker wasn’t satisfied with the selection. He managed to persuade the committee to grant an interview to a candidate who was denied an interview because his paperwork was late causing him to miss the deadline. This person was Mr. Derrick Shepard, who didn’t score as high as others candidates during the interview process. Unbeknownst to most, Mr. Baker had secretly promised Mr. Shepard who’s an alumnus of Meadowdale the Meadowdale head football job, yes, the one and only Ponitz assistant coach suspended for playing his seventh-grade son in a high school game. Mr. Baker already reached out and formed an interview committee to ensure Coach Shephard’s selection which consisted of high profile Meadowdale alumnus and Mr. Sheppard, ex Hall of Fame high school football coach Pat Masters. Clearly, the fix was in.
    Six days or so after earning the head football job Mr. Baker summoned Coach Hampton to his office at Welcome Stadium and told him he had to be reinterviewed for the football job by him and Mr. Keith Byars. Mr. Hampton informed Mr. Baker that he had already been interviewed, selected and named the Head Football Coach by the principal of Meadowdale High School. Mr. Baker told Coach Hampton that it was him alone that makes the final selections for all head coaching positions for DPS. Therefore, he would have to interview with him. Mr. Hampton, Who is a member of the teacher union excused himself from the meeting and immediately informed his union representative and principal of his dilemma. They in turned contacted Mr. Baker to let him know that his attempt to intimidate Mr. Hampton and interfere with their selection was a violation of union contract. Within 48 hours, Mr. Baker reluctantly apologized to Mr. Hampton, telling him it was all a misunderstanding, or was it?
  5. Because of the entire 2016 Dunbar vs. Belmont high school football fiasco Mr. Baker failed to renew Coach Pete Pullen, former AD and Coach Darran Powell head football coach, basketball jobs cleverly creating a two-game in voluntary (sic) suspension at the start of the basketball season. Mr. Baker antics and power play worked to publicly embarrass and humiliate the Dunbar community and both fore-mentioned coaches. Because of a community uproar and a few newspaper articles both coaches were reinstated without explanation or apologies from Mr. Baker. As of the writing of this letter for reasons yet unknown the Dunbar head football job has yet to be filled and interviews delayed without explanation. Dunbar has currently four high profile Division I prospects, in which Mr . Baker has vowed if it’s left up to him Darran Powell will never coach them.
  6. Mr. Baker arranged to have a female athletic trainer, Ms. Erin Cane, from Kettering Sports Medicine Center removed from Dunbar Early College High School when she refused to give him negative information about the Dunbar athletic program and coaches. Three weeks after Mr. Baker interviewed her he then implied to the Vice President of Kettering Health Network that he had reason to believed she was having sexual affairs with members of the Dunbar coaching staff. Without any proof, Ms. Cane without noticed, was assigned out of Dunbar where she had served for eight years. It’s clear this is nothing shorter than vicious slander aimed at Ms. Cane and every male coach at Dunbar Early College High School and speaks to Mr. Baker’s lack of character and unethical need to seek and get revenge against anyone who refuses to bow down to him.
  7. Mr. Baker continues to try and convince people that he inherited a school district that was completely out of control and a total mess. He claims he inherited none loyal coaches across the district. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Mr. Baker started a staff meeting last week with building AD’s saying he has the power to replace them all and he will if they don’t start producing results. He was only giving the AD’s a year to turn things around, implying his contract will be renewed. Thus, unbeknownst to him AD’s are looking for other jobs outside our district due to his dictatorship style. Mr. Baker’s lack of decision making skills prove that he has no problem cheating and will cheat at every turn without conscience.
Thank you,
Very Concerned!

The school board hasn’t voted to rehire the Powell’s as coaches for football, although they have rehired them since the fiasco as track coaches. They believe because of the rehiring of Baker and new conditions in the contracts, they may not be the coaches next year. There is no evidence of any clause in the posting or in the School Board Policy manual (updated 12/5/16) that coaches will be ineligible due to being investigated or charged with any infractions of OHSAA rules as some had rumored.

The promise of a position in the future sounds like the work of Superintendent Rhonda Corr, who did the same thing to this writer when the RFP was out for the marketing contract (fully disclosed here).

There are still many questions surrounding the how much the board knows when making decisions. The main question is why was the Baker contract done while in the middle of the controversy? Rumblings of a tape existing that will damn Baker coming to light in the next week make this decision even more worrisome.

Seat of the pants decisions and timelines seem to be the new norm with Dayton Public Schools since Rhonda Corr was hired. At what point with the School Board realize that this isn’t how you build trust and respect with your employees? With the impending strike, forcing issues like a choice between coaching or AD, is just poking the bear at the wrong time.