In a letter to players he once coached, former MBA football coach Daniel McGugin has responded to the sanctions imposed by the TSSAA.
Reached by The City Paper, McGugin said that he had no comment and the correspondence to his former players was his responsibility as their former coach.
"In light of the publicity of the last week relating to TSSAA sanctions imposed on MBA for recruiting and financial aid violations,” the letter began, “I feel compelled to reach out to you, the people who mean the most to me from my days at MBA, to try to set the record straight and to express my great admiration for your accomplishments as students and athletes at MBA.
"With the conclusion of the TSSAA investigation and following MBA's press release, I feel it is an appropriate time to communicate to you what I did and did not do in connection with the TSSAA rules violations and to express to you my great appreciation for the effort and dedication you put in making our teams great."
McGugin pointed out that the TSSAA disclosed that in three instances MBA failed to collect tuition balances for student athletes during their senior years and in other instances third parties provided tuition assistance.
On that charge, McGugin stated, "I had no involvement in these instances, specifically tuition forgiveness by the school and the third party assistance that resulted in vacating wins for or championships in football and basketball. These instances relate to the actions of others and are the reasons for the TSSAA sanctions."
As to the allegations made against him, McGugin said, "I think that is important that you hear from me about what I have done that was the subject of the TSSAA's review. Consistent with MBA's well-known history of helping students who find it difficult to meet the school's financial obligations, I was involved in two circumstances related to providing help."
McGugin said that in 2008 some supporters came together to help a family and while he had no involvement in collecting funds he admitted to delivering a check. He added that during the 2010-11 school year two other families of seventh-grade students were unable to pay a portion of their tuition. In the letter, McGugin said, "As has been done in the past, members of the MBA community collected funds to help these two seventh-grade families. I served as the middleman by delivering funds from the third parties directly to the finance office at MBA."
He said that the ineligibility caused by those instances do not overlap with the students involvement in varsity football and "thus their ineligibility did not contribute to any vacated wins or championships."
Winding down the letter to his former players, McGugin said, "I fully take responsibility for being involved in these situations and delivering the funds in both 2008 and 2010. I did so based on my understanding of the TSSAA's financial aid rules, an understanding I gained from the administration of MBA. I know now that my and the schools understanding of the rules was not correct. I am not offering my misunderstanding of the rules as an excuse. However, it is important to me that you know my mistakes were made without willful intent to violate any rules of the TSSAA. In fact, the TSSAA's report states that ‘the investigation disclosed nothing to suggest that MBA's actions grew out of any intent to circumvent the rule or unfairly gain a competitive advantage.’ ”
To read a full copy of McGugin's letter, click here.