BERLIN, Conn. (WTNH) — The Berlin High School Football Team was on track to go to the State Championship, but now their season turned upside down amidst controversy for illegal recruiting from other towns.
After practice, the Berlin football team took a knee in front of the coach under the lights. The news was not good; the team’s 7-2 record has been wiped out because of cheating. The CIAC, which governs high school sports, says the coach illegally recruited four football players from other towns.
The CIAC has ordered the team to:
-Forfeit all nine games they used the illegal athletes.
-Pay a fine of $4,000 – $1,000 per athlete.
-Serve one year on probation.
Those orders are something that is hard for future athletes like Tyrese Williams to swallow.
“It’s is frustrating. You go to the gym, you give it your all, you’re thinking, OK next year when I get on the field nobody can stop me, but now you can’t even get on the field,” said Williams.
News 8 did talk to the school superintendent about it and he said it’s a sad day at Berlin High School, but he encouraged the athletes to go out and play their last game hard and get a win. When asked what’s going to happen to the coach next year, he said there’s a separate investigation going on into that and he would not comment on that right now. However, parent Paula Cousino said cheating is setting a bad example for the students.
“They are saying it’s OK to cheat, which they shouldn’t cheat I don’t think so. Let the kids play,” said Cousino.
We did talk briefly with the coach’s attorney, but he had no comment at the time. The team will play their last football game on Friday amid rumors and speculation. Williams says there was a lot of talk this week in the halls and on the field about what is going on.
“A lot of people are saying they hope he doesn’t get caught and everybody’s hoping the best for coach. A lot of people knew something was going on. Me? I didn’t know what was going on,” said Williams.
Some people News 8 talked to at the school say the CIAC should go back and look at previous seasons to see if this is the first time the coach has done this.