School offense coordinator Zac Connors was fired Thursday for recruiting two students from the Davis School District, which violates UHSAA guidelines.
An assistant football coach at Weber High School has been fired after an investigation found he was involved in recruiting two students from the Davis School District — in violation of Utah High School Activities Association policies.
According to district spokesman Lane Findlay, the school’s offensive coordinator Zac Connors was fired Thursday after an investigation found he had improperly influenced players.
“After we completed this part of the investigation, it was decided that Mr. Connors should be released from the program,” Findlay said.
“Troubleshooting” refers to the improper recruitment of athletes from other schools, a practice prohibited by the UHSAA.
In certain circumstances, such as a family move or as a result of a divorce, a student may transfer to another school and compete in athletics.
However, if they wish to transfer and play sports for reasons not approved by UHSAA, the UHSAA manual requires them to compete at the sub-varsity level for 12 months before being accepted into varsity.
After an eligibility hearing Thursday, the two students in question were deemed eligible to continue playing football at Weber High, UHSAA Attorney Mark Van Waggoner said.
The investigation into the allegations has been going on for several months.
Before the start of the school year, the district received a complaint that some soccer players had been improperly recruited.
Weber High Principal Chris Earnest has been tasked with investigating the allegations. However, further complaints were filed, accusing Earnest of mishandling the situation. This led to a second county-level investigation and Earnest was placed on paid administrative leave pending the results.
“When an employee is placed on paid administrative leave, that’s not a sanction,” Findlay said. “It protects the integrity of the investigation.”
He said the investigation should be completed in the next week or two.
Jaclyn Wintle, a mother and chairwoman of Weber High School’s local council, said the school suffered in Earnest’s absence.
“Ms Earnest’s departure has left a huge hole,” Wintle said. “My children go to school to get an education and learn skills that will carry them through life. Football is only a small part of what schools offer. Taking a great leader out of school right at the start of the school year – just for a tiny chunk – is not ideal and, on the contrary, goes against what is really needed.”
As for the sanctions, Findlay said these may be imposed on Weber High’s football program, although the details are not known at this time.
When violations occur in athletics, it is usually the regional bodies that are responsible for enforcing any disciplinary action. Weber is in the 6A Region 1 for athletics.
UHSAA spokesman Jeff Cluff said the Weber School District voluntarily reported the violations to Region 1, which is fairly common.
The board will make recommendations for sanctions at the next UHSAA Executive Committee meeting, scheduled for Oct. 4.
“All in all, given this situation, I hope that as adults, we can show our students and the community the true meaning of education,” Wintle said, “that is, we do our best, sometimes too.” We make mistakes, but we do show courage and resilience in fixing, relearning, and building for something better.”