Wonson was placed on one-year probation by the state athletic board for violation of code 5A DCMR, Chapter 27, Paragraph 2701.2, which states: “Neither a school nor a representative of a school shall seek to influence a student to transfer from one (1) school to another for the purpose of participating in interscholastic athletics.”
“We believe that there was a nexus between those two tweets that did violate the spirit of the rule,” DCSAA Athletic Director Clark Ray said. “There is no mention of ‘recruitment’ in the state rules . . . if you have coach that is tweeting: I love recruiting, recruiting is my job, I’m aggressively recruiting my next [player], while you sleep I’m recruiting, and then the very next day that same coach sends out a tweet that says welcome H.D. Woodson player (E) to Friendship, you’re now part of the family . . . I think you can draw a nexus between those two tweets.”
Friendship Collegiate finished the 2012 season 8-3 and won the inaugural DCSAA championship. Twenty seniors from that team earned college football scholarships and signed during a ceremony in February, which included three players who chose Maryland. The school boasts several high-profile rising senior recruits, including defensive back Jalen Tabor and running back Jonathan Haden.
The allegation of infractions by Wonson was brought to the attention of Ray by DCPS officials on May 8, just a day after Wilson High School had filed a formal complaint to DCSAA, alleging that Wonson was working to pry a player away from the school after taking the student-athlete to Maryland’s spring football game on April 12, in addition to interacting with the player on Twitter and inviting the athlete to Friendship workouts, documents show. Ray found insufficient evidence to support Wilson’s claim and dismissed the complaint Monday; he also dismissed additional complaints by DCPS that Wonson was inside McKinley Tech recruiting in December 2011, as well as influenced two former players at Dunbar to transfer to the school in 2012.
Friendship Collegiate Coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim declined to comment when reached by telephone Monday, and a message left for Friendship CEO Patricia Brantley was not immediately returned. Wilson Athletic Director Mitch Gore and DCIAA Athletic Director Stephanie Evans also declined to comment.