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Cumberland Academy athletic programs put on 2-year probation by UIL

Hoffer said that the decision to have an ineligible player participate for the boy’s basketball team was made as a “unilateral decision” by coach Sampson.
Published: May. 23, 2022 at 9:54 AM CDT|Updated: May. 23, 2022 at 11:19 AM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The University Interscholastic League’s State Executive Committee has handed down a one year suspension to former Cumberland Academy Athletic Director Mike Richardson and has put the charter school’s athletic programs on a 2-year probation period.

Richardson and former head coach Robert Sampson both resigned following an April ruling that found Sampson knowingly let a student play that had previously been ruled ineligible by the District Executive Committee.

Attorney Joe Hoffer was present at the meeting to represent the school and Cumberland Academy’s Head of School Norma Cotton. Hoffer said that the decision to have an ineligible player participate for the boy’s basketball team was made as a “unilateral decision” by coach Sampson. Hoffer added that once Cotton knew of the issue she told Sampson and Richardson that he could not be played anymore.

State Executive Committee member Johanna Denson asked for a staff development plan, including a student handbook for the coaching staff and student athletes. The school has been asked to provide a full report back to the committee by September 1. Cumberland superintendent Rusty Robinett was also present for the meeting and stated that the school will follow strict UIL guidelines in hiring guidelines for a new athletic director and basketball coaching staff.

A public reprimand will also be given to Richardson and Cumberland Academy.

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