MBA tells students that 'collection problems' were among causes of TSSAA sanctions

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 at 2:59pm

In a routine address to the Montgomery Bell Academy student body, Headmaster Brad Gioia told students “collection problems” were among the causes of last week’s TSSAA sanctions against the school.

Gioia addresses the student body of the entire school weekly at an assembly to discuss matters facing the school. A recap of the address is then sent to MBA alumni.

In this week’s address, Gioia discussed sanctions levied by the TSSAA for financial aid violations committed by the century-plus-old institution.

According to the recap, Gioia told students that "collection problems" were a cause of sanctions.

In his words:

“I then addressed the student body about the difficult situations that have occurred involving the TSSAA regarding tuition, financial aid, and  recruitment violations. Tuition payments can only be made by parents, relatives, or guardians, and bills must be paid within 60 days or students-athletes are not allowed to participate in sports. For recruiting, no one can wrongfully entice someone to attend an academic institution. MBA had several incidents where tuition was paid by people other than relatives or guardians. Although most of these instances were due to families being in distress, TSSAA rules were still broken. We also experienced collection problems  where tuition payments were not submitted on time. I regret that we had recruiting issues and that students’ names were mentioned in the TSSAA letter. I lobbied unsuccessfully for students’ names to be omitted from the report and regret their inclusion.

“All of our punishments involved former teams at MBA. No current athletic teams will be penalized moving forward.

“This story has been immensely painful for the school. I told the students the best thing to do is to admit your wrongs, rise above the transgressions, and move ahead.”

17 Comments on this post:

By: Rasputin72 on 1/19/12 at 9:08

This debacle will work out better in the long run than the state football championship that was taken away from the homework school.

Only those that know Gioia well understand how much this folly has driven a dagger through his ego. A very good man who somehow was enticed out of his element.


By: tinus on 1/19/12 at 5:53

Does The City Paper intend to investigate Ensworth? Isn't it amazing how these wonderful, huge players from far away land on Ensworth's doorstep? Also, is The City Paper going to continue to monitor a high school's every word to its students? MBA is so much more than football, and I don't care what the alums think. It is easy to say that certain people should be fired, and then there would be no one who could ever maintain the standards that are expected there. Just wait until you see how many National Merit Scholars are coming up in the Class of 2013! Is there any school in the state that can replicate the number of successful AP scholars? The boys at MBA work harder than any school in the state! If a boy wants to go there and is willing to do the work, he can succeed there. I think that The City Paper has had enough fun with this issue now, and you know that it is a vendetta. The City Paper wants to coddle the weak and bring down the strong. How typical of our country today!

By: Rasputin72 on 1/20/12 at 6:38

Tinus, The City Paper was only doing what was needed to return MBA to its foundation.

By: shinestx on 1/20/12 at 6:44

Gioia has got to go! I haven't liked him since I came to campus for an alumni visit shortly after his arrival as headmaster, and he treated me like I was not the biggest donor (so I wasn't worth his time). Since that time, I have donated over $20,000, not to mention paid tuition .... to Ensworth, where all three of my children go to school. As an alumnus, I am saddened by the state of MBA's athletics program. Gioia has run off good almuni, staff, and especially coaches. Heck, Rick Bowers is an alumnus himself. MBA Board of Trustees... you need to fire Gioia!

By: tinus on 1/20/12 at 8:42

Shinetx, you are a typical Ensworth person. The whole reason the school was created was because a RICH person didn't get MBA to change its entire mission. It is typical that you take your little toys to someone else's place to play. Ensworth is totally about the money and who has money. There are always disgruntled alums, and most of you act like babies because you don't get enough attention. As for the staff that has run off, they are bitter and Ensworth is totally filled with people who are bitter about MBA. Jealousy does not sound like a good foundation for a school. Why don't you compare academic outcomes? You don't need to be "saddened" by the state of MBA athletics. Why don't we all go back to the old fashioned way of doing things? You know Ensworth recruits and violates rules.

By: Left-of-Local on 1/20/12 at 9:17

Excuses, excuses. These kids are learning the biggest lesson of their young lives, concerning the real world... corporate/sports corruption.

By: Rasputin72 on 1/20/12 at 10:38

TINUS...........You make some very good points. However the truth of the matter is that Enworth did not get caught and MBA did.

This will be good for MBA long term. Gioia has learned that he and MBA have a culture that is different from Brentwood Academy and Ensworth. The lesson learned is that if you play with horse manure you will get horse manure on your hands.

By: Ralphieboy on 1/20/12 at 11:57

The TSSAA is not going to investigate anybody on their own. They don't have the staff or resources to do it. If there are other schools violating the rules, the only way it will come out is if a third party documents it, or someone (a disgruntled parent?) makes it public.

By: tinus on 1/20/12 at 12:59

Well, then, I guess we shouldn't hold our breath for Ensworth to "self-report", should we? How valuable are the rules of the TSSAA if the only way they can be enforced if schools turn themselves in? Feckless, I say.

By: adchick on 1/20/12 at 5:35

Three things come to mind..

First of all, I don't think MBA should be so self-congratulatory about the self-reporting aspect of it. Simonis was in a position to do a lot of damage, and MBA was smart to get out in front of it. I give them credit for a good PR decision, but I am willing to bet that they really had no option.

Secondly, these "collection problems" are BS. If Gioia can't do a better job of figuring out who short-paid and who is current, then he is incompetent.

And thirdly, I know that I would feel a whole lot better about the whole mess if there was just one case where a needy non-athlete was given the same promises about tuition assistance available to football players. I realize that this would not fall under the scope of the TSSAA investigation, but surely the MBA PR machine could spin that story.

By: tinus on 1/20/12 at 6:26

MBA does that ALL the time. You have no idea how many kids are on scholarship for reasons other than athletics.

By: TNPREPS on 1/20/12 at 8:06

And thirdly, I know that I would feel a whole lot better about the whole mess if there was just one case where a needy non-athlete was given the same promises about tuition assistance available to football players. I realize that this would not fall under the scope of the TSSAA investigation, but surely the MBA PR machine could spin that story.

Per page 3 of the TSSAA letter, "MBA's financial records showed that MBA failed in some other instances to collect tuition from some other students who did not participate in interscholastic athletics."

It's up to the reader if he/she wants to believe that, but unless one thinks MBA had a part in writing the TSSAA letter (which I would seriously doubt, given that MBA supposedly asked that the names of the students be redacted, which the TSSAA declined to do), that would seem to be independent validation that non-athletes receive(d) similar tuition forgiveness.

By: tinus on 1/20/12 at 8:10

Adchick, you sound bitter. Do you have an Ensworth connection?

By: adchick on 1/21/12 at 10:22

No, my brother went to MBA in the late 80s. If I had a son, he'd go to USN where they don't even try to feed the monster that is prep athletics.

I apologize, I did not read the full TSSAA letter.

By: drsam on 1/22/12 at 9:34

Where is the MBA Leadership? Leadership starts at the top and top leaders are responsible for actions that take place on their watch. Capt. “Sully” Sullenberger with his “Miracle on the Hudson” understood this. Capt Schettino of the shipwrecked Costa Concordia is re-learning this. MBA Leaders probably teach this to their students.

Now that we have finally been able to hear from Coach McGugin, it has become clear that the top Leadership at MBA deflected responsibility for actions that took place on its watch and also lacks the “wisdom and moral integrity” cited as important in the MBA Mission Statement. The MBA Administration made McGugin the sacrificial lamb by firing him, silencing him and then using the media to try to ruin his outstanding reputation and character. The top MBA Administration should start to behave as responsible leaders and step down.

By: Rasputin72 on 1/23/12 at 7:56

Drsam.........I would assume by your comments that you think Gioia was complicit in this debacle? If that is your opinion,it is shared by many many people close to the MBA situation.

Unfortunately for McGugin Gioia will get a second chance and life at MBA will go on without recruiting of athletes. Gioia is a control freak and you can bet that MBA will be the cleanest private school in the state from now on when it comes to athletes and money.

By: Tu Quoque on 1/29/12 at 11:25

Sen. Bill Frist went to MBA. Once again we have the typical, politically correct liberal Democrat attacks on MBA and the Belle Meade Country Club motivated by mad and blind class envy. The people behind this hate private property. The people behind this are the same sort of people in the Marxist oriented "Occupy Wall Street" movement.

Do you understand the meaning of the word "private?" MBA is a private school. The Belle Meade Country Club is a private club. They need to be left alone.