While Mr. Saccoccia is only a football coach on paper, he is much more than that in the Steubenville High School community. His position also makes he part educator, part role model, and part child advocate.
Unfortunately, as we have learned.... he is none of these things. His first response when questioned regarding the alleged gang rape of an innocent 16 year old girl, was that she "made it up." Is this the kind of man we want setting an example for our young men and women? Someone who blames a rape victim? While being a unsympathetic human being in itself is not a crime, it surely goes against the ethics that the Steubenville City Schools District strives to uphold. What is a crime, however... is verbal assault. Mr. Saccoccia threatened a reporter, while on school property -telling her; "You’re going to get yours. And if you don’t get yours, somebody close to you will.”
The fact that this man is still on the payroll after this threat, is just disgusting. We plead to you, the school board of Steubenville, to please do the right thing and remove this man from his position.
**UPDATE 3/23/13 **
With the trials of the two convicted rapists over, we now have much more information in this case. While I understand that no criminal charges have been brought up on Reno Saccoccia - I do believe it is important to point out the allegations made during testimony. It seems that Mr. Saccoccia not only knew of the rapes, he attemped to cover it up. This is atrocious behavior and at the very least warrants suspension pending investigation. While I believe his above actions of victim blaming, verbal assualt and threats are good enough reason for dismissal; these new allegations most certinally need to be addressed.
*** UPDATE 3/25/2013 ***
We have amended this petition to also include the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA.) As the governing party of high school athletics - Mr. Saccoccia is in violation of their bylaws.
Starting with the infraction itself:
ByLaw6 - COACHES
6-1-2 ALL Coaches, paid or volunteer, shall meet the criteria established by the State Board of Education.
Saccoccia violated the states board of education doctorine when he verbally assaulted and threated a report ON SCHOOL PROPERTY.
6-1-4The designated head coach and all assistant coaches (paid and unpaid) for each sport team or individual sport for which a member school provides sponsorship shall, in addition to teaching the skills and strategies of their sport, be for their athletes a proper role model for citizenship, ethics, integrity and sporting conduct.
There are no ethics and integrity in assault and threats of bodily harm – thus voiding Mr. Soccoccia in being any kind of role model.
Lastly, while the accusations of Mr. Soccoccia are still just that – accusations…. Mr. Soccoccia himself has admitted to police officials that he DID hear from players regarding the rape case, that the possibility of a crime could have been committed. While he surely is entitled to his own opinion if said information was, or was not, relevant – by the governing standards of OHSAA, which specifically state that regardless of his opinion of what facts he had – he is STILL obligated to report any violations that may, or may not, affect an athletes status.
BYLAW 3 — ADMINISTRATIVE RESPONSIBILITY AND INSTITUTIONAL CONTROL
3-1-2 All school administrative and athletic personnel have a duty to immediately report possible violations that may affect the status of an athlete, team or contest.
BY NOT REPORTING WHAT HIS PLAYERS TOLD HIM, HE IS IN DIRECT VIOLATION OF THE RULES HE IS OBLIGATED TO ABIDE – OR BE DISMISSED.
For these reasons, we have amended the petition to also include OHSAA Commissioner, Daniel Ross. We plead to him as well, to follow his own organizations rules and standards - and dismiss Reno Sacoccia from his position as coach.