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Year in Review 2011: District says East Ridge recruiting claims unfounded

In 2011, District 833 administrators said claims that East Ridge High School representatives tried to recruit Park High School student athletes to play Raptors sports were unfounded.

There was no violation of policies prohibiting school officials from contacting students of another school about transferring to participate in a sport, said District 833 Assistant Superintendent Keith Ryskoski at the time.

"Based on what we heard - and in many cases (involved) some contradictory or conflicting information - we determined that there was clearly no violation," Ryskoski said following the school district's internal review of the allegations.

The findings came after Park Activities Director Phil Kuemmel went to the district requesting a review of recruiting allegations he fielded from community members. Also, students told the Bulletin in interviews that they were contacted by East Ridge representatives about transferring schools.

Kuemmel's information prompted administrators to conduct an internal review. The review involved meetings of Ryskoski and the three district high schools' activities directors - Kuemmel, Jason Schultz of Woodbury and East Ridge's Trent Hanson, who was at the center of the allegations but said they were "false claims."

The allegations involved underclassmen who are standout players for Park with at least two years left of high school football. Park, in Cottage Grove, and East Ridge, in Woodbury, are in separate attendance boundaries, but the district has a policy allowing intra-district transfers. Recruiting students from another school to play sports is a violation of MSHSL policy.

Following the district's internal review, Hanson said he believed no one at East Ridge broke Minnesota State High School League rules.

"I am disheartened by the recruiting allegations levied against East Ridge High School and myself," Hanson said. "Integrity is the foundation upon which my professional practice as an educator is built. The hundreds of colleagues and thousands of families who have ever worked with me throughout my 13 years in education know the truth about my committed, honest approach and consistent candor in decision-making."