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Bishop Blanchet football coach fired over illegal recruiting

Bishop Blanchet football coach Aaron Maul was let go after an investigation about a scholarship fund for football players.
Bishop Blanchet coach Aaron Maul prays with the Braves football team.

Bishop Blanchet football coach Aaron Maul was let go Friday after a month-long investigation from the school regarding a violation of WIAA recruiting rules, said a school spokeswoman.

The investigation was prompted after the school self-reported recruiting violations concerning the girls basketball team, where a parent was giving a player tuition assistance. During the investigation, the school found that Maul helped administrate a scholarship fund dedicated to football athletes.

Donations came in through the Development Office to the fund, which was made available to football players. The scholarships were to entice players continue at Bishop Blanchet, even if their families could not afford to pay full tuition.

The scholarships were distributed after students applied through the business office's financial aid application, according to a parent letter to the Bishop Blanchet President Antonio DeSapio.

When the school discovered the violation, it self-reported to the Metro League. Bishop Blanchet came up with a course of action, which included letting Maul go and implementing staff training on WIAA violations. The school will meet with the Metro League in June to discuss further action.

"We don't know what the real penalty will be," said Christen Lambert, a school spokeswoman. "We are doing what we can here to correct what went wrong and we'll know this summer."

According to the WIAA Handbook, student athletes may not receive or be offered "remunerations" or "special inducement," including free or reduced tuition. Student athletes do not need to receive these gifts, but just the possibility of special treatment is a violation of the WIAA recruiting rules.

Maul, 41, came to Bishop Blanchet in 2009 after 12 years as an assistant head coach and defensive coordinator at Bellarmine Prep. He will continue as a physical education teacher at the school. Maul earned his bachelor's in communications and public relations at Central Washington, where he played on the 1995 Division II national championship football team.

Kyle Moore, Bishop Blanchet's freshman football coach, will take over the program as interim head coach.

Parents and students rallied behind Maul this week, organizing a change.org petition to reinstate Maul as head football coach. The petition has 1,636 signatures, but the school said Maul will not be reinstated in the fall.

Former students also took to Twitter Monday to show their support for Maul: