Alter High School has been put on probation by the Ohio High School Athletic Association for the remainder of this school year for violating a recruiting bylaw.
The OHSAA ruled that an unapproved “outside entity” awarded scholarships for Alter girls basketball players after they enrolled in the school.
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The OHSAA had four specifications for Alter:
• Current Alter students who received this scholarship from the Junior Lady Knights “are required to relinquish the scholarship monies paid by the outside entity for their tuition at Alter.”
• Students who enrolled at Alter this fall and have not yet received scholarship money are not allowed to do so in order to “maintain full eligibility.”
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• Alter was reprimanded “for failure to fully vet this situation” with the OHSAA compliance staff and is on probation through June 2019.
• The school is required to inform the “outside entity that the scholarship program is only permitted to be continued if the scholarships are awarded to each student regardless of their high school selection.”
Alter Principal Lourdes Lambert responded by email and insisted the school had not “engaged in any athletic recruiting. I assure you that did not happen here.”
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According to its website, the Junior Lady Knights is a select basketball club for girls grades 2-8 who “will become future members of the Alter High School girls basketball program.” JLK teams compete in the Dayton Metro Youth Basketball and Cincinnati Junior High leagues.
Lambert said the JLK “awards” began in spring of 2011, and she thought the awards were meant to reimburse parents for dues paid to that organization. Lambert became the school principal in July of that year and said “it was my belief that the JLK awards had been fully vetted and pre-approved before I came on board.”
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Lambert said that:
• Only Alter girls basketball was involved
• Nineteen students received money but did not play or try out for Alter girls basketball
• Twelve students who received a payment played one season of girls basketball
• The scholarship amount varied and was based on the number of seasons the student participated in JLK.
• These were one-time, non-renewable payouts that were awarded after the students had enrolled in the school.
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This news outlet also has reached out to Alter athletic director and girls basketball coach Chris Hart and the OHSAA for comment.
Alter is an established girls and boys state basketball power. The Knights girls team has won four state titles since 2008, including successive Division II championships from 2015-17. Alter also has been the girls state runner-up twice. The Alter boys have won three state titles, the last in 2001.
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