MLK principal finds ‘nothing there’ in football recruiting investigation

 Dawayne Young holds a trophy he received for being the top overall performer at the Next Level Nation Football Camp. (Brad Larrison/for NewsWorks)

Dawayne Young holds a trophy he received for being the top overall performer at the Next Level Nation Football Camp. (Brad Larrison/for NewsWorks)

There’s nothing there.

That’s the conclusion Martin Luther King High School’s Principal William Wade has reached after looking into whether anyone in the community had ever recruited teens to join the school’s football squad.

Following a contentious hearing near Harrisburg earlier this month, the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) asked Wade to conduct an investigation into allegations that a “volunteer community” coach had steered players towards King.

This after a five-member appeals panel unanimously cleared MLK defensive end Dawayne Young to play for the Cougars this season.

After Young transferred to King from Washington High School, staffers there accused him of leaving because he wanted to play football for the defending public-league champs.

In May, a PIAA District XII committee declared that Young was ineligible to play football at King after transferring from Washington.

MLK staffers, including Wade, though, argued throughout that the transfer had nothing to do with football, but Young’s future.

He often arrived late to Washington, a trek from Young’s home in North Philadelphia. His mother, a home nurse, relies on Dawayne to get his brother and sister to school each morning and buses aren’t always so reliable.

“I talked to every parent. I talked to several community members. Not one person would support what was said at that hearing,” said Wade. “They didn’t have anything so they created a witch hunt for me at a very busy time of year for me,” said Wade.

As he prepares for the start of the school year, Wade will type up a brief summary of his findings for PIAA to review.

He hopes that will close the book on what has clearly been a frustrating saga for him.

“It’s a non-story so it should be over. There’s nothing there. Period,” said Wade.

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