FOX 45 Investigates: Document shows employees telling different story about Dunbar game
DAYTON, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) – FOX 45 is investigating revealing new documents about a game that Dunbar football players were told to lose.
A Dayton Public Schools-led investigation shows multiple employees are telling a different story than Athletic Director Mark Baker.
The report was given to board members 2 weeks before they approved Baker’s contract extension. Since then, Dunbar’s coach Darran Powell has been let go, and calls for district accountability are getting louder.
The game between Dunbar and Belmont is continuing to haunt the district.
“He was like, either we lose or can’t go to the playoffs," former Dunbar player Kavonte Knolten said.
Dunbar players were told to throw the game to avoid reporting an ineligible player, sending both teams to the playoffs.
OHSAA said the decision was made when Baker met with coaches and principals at halftime.
“That ruined a lot of kids dreams of football,” Knolten said. “Me personally, I probably won’t play football again because of that.”
New documents FOX 45’s Nathan Edwards obtained say DPS’s safety director re-investigated the game after the OHSAA investigation was different than his own. In total, he talked to 7 people.
At halftime, Belmont Principal Melanie Walter and Dunbar Principal Crystal Phillips where with Baker when they say Coach Powell ran into the room.
Phillips said he asked, “What do you want me to do?” and then said Baker replied that “Dunbar needs to lose this game, it’s the best thing for the district.”
Powell reportedly responded, “I’m a competitor! You should understand.”
Phillips said Baker jumped up and said, “Go ahead and win the game and see what happens.”
Powell told the district he told the players that they needed to win, but never said to lose.
Powell’s Uncle Albert, who’s also a coach, said Baker also came into the press box and said, “Just tell Darran to let them win the game. I can sweep this under the rug.”
“They all corroborate the same story that happened at halftime before the game was thrown,” board member Joe Lacey said.
Lacey voted against Baker’s contract extension.
“To reward something with a 2-year contract extension who should be held accountable is not going to happen for this vote,” he said.
Baker maintains innocence, denying the allegations, but admits to joking with principals before the game about letting Belmont win.
FOX 45’s Edwards asked the district if Baker made the call to throw the game, and they said no.
“This is something that will impact our district for years and no one is being held accountable," Lacey said.
The safety director said many of the new statements don’t match his first investigation.
Baker has continued to ignore multiple requests from FOX 45 for an interview.