Seidel sanction limited to one week

BLYTHEWOOD – The Chief Communications Officer for Richland School District Two provided documents on Tuesday confirming that Blythewood head football coach Jason Seidel received a one-week suspension and was reprimanded by the District as punishment for violating the school’s recruiting policy.

Seidel

The Voice obtained the documents through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Richland Two launched an investigation in late January of Seidel’s interaction via Twitter with several football players at Ridge View High School in December of last year and January of this year after it was reported to Richland Two District office by Ridge View High Principal, Brenda Mack-Foxworthy. Seidel exchanged numerous tweets with the players over that time frame, encouraging them to transfer to Blythewood to play for the Bengals, according to a statement issued by Richland Two.

The District did not at that time disclose what discipline it had meted out to Seidel.

Seidel was missing from the sidelines of his team’s game against Fairfield Central High School on Friday, Sept. 6, and there was speculation at the time that it was the likely result of his punishment.

Kevin Rohletter was the Bengals acting head coach for the team that evening in their 35-21 victory over the Fairfield Central Griffins.

Documents provided Tuesday verified that Seidel received a one-week suspension in which he would be “prohibited from any activities with the team during that week, including any games the team played that week.”

The specific week the suspension would be served was not disclosed.

Complaints against Seidel also accused him of directing players to cover up his interactions. In one tweet, Seidel mentioned to one player to “delete our convo…”  In another conversation with a player, he said about the player’s mother “I would like to meet her when she can. I want you both comfortable. But you and your mom can’t say we met either.”

According to District Two policy, “Recruiting of prospective students for athletic purposes is a serious ethical violation of the philosophy and ideals of interscholastic athletics and will be treated as such.”

District Two went public on the matter only in mid-August, when local television news station WIS received word of the issue and aired a story on Seidel’s contacts on Aug. 16.

After District Two had investigated and addressed the situation in March, Mack-Foxworth filed an appeal March 19 with Keith Price, the District’s assistant superintendent for middle schools and high schools and requested that the District send the issue to the South Carolina High School League (SCHSL), which oversees public school sports in the state. The SCHSL later said that “no violation within the S.C.H.S.L occurred” because none of the students in contact with Seidel transferred to Blythewood.

Seidel was notified of his discipline by Richland District Two in May.

The South Carolina High School League, which governs public school athletic programs, passed on making a decision because there was no evidence that any student transferred based on Seidel’s actions.