On Aug. 29, Guttentag and a National Connections attorney met with Sparks and a representative from the Maryland attorney general’s office. Multiple sources familiar with the meeting said the MPSSAA’s specific concerns included: the suspicion that none of Eastern Christian’s players lived in Maryland; the fact that Sills, not National Connections, had assembled Eastern Christian’s coaching staff; and skepticism over whether Eastern Christian’s players were fully adhering to National Connections’ online curriculum.
The MPSSAA informed National Connections it could re-submit its application for non-member approval after demonstrating more control over Eastern Christian.
Guttentag said the school will not do that this fall, but he was adamant there has been no indication of any wrongdoing by Eastern Christian.
“The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association and [Ned] Sparks had a bias against this team and avoided the issue,” Guttentag said. “If they had come to us and said, ‘We know this is different. Let’s figure out a way to make this work,’ in February . . . that would have been the fair way to do this, and I think we could have figured it out together.”