CUMBERLAND — Allegany High School Head Football Coach Tom Preaskorn is still facing questions over decisions he made regarding the mix of players, staff and family he selected to attend a Dec. 2 NFL game in Baltimore between the Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Allegany and Fort Hill were invited, and sent tickets, to participate in the Ravens Quarterback Challenge, which called for 25 tickets to be distributed to each school, with four going to the coach, quarterback and two receivers, and 21 tickets to be given to students.
The dispersion of tickets was verified from the initial email, sent to Preaskorn by Matt Little of the Ravens, that was supplied to the Times-News by Kayla Bittinger of Cumberland.
Bittinger, whose brother was on the Allegany football team, began questioning Preaskorn’s choice of people to attend in letters to the newspaper.
Allegany won the challenge that was held during halftime.
“He (Preaskorn) did not invite his players to the game,” wrote Bittinger in a letter to the editor that appeared in the Dec. 6 Times-News.
Bittinger said Preaskorn took the quarterback and two receivers but the rest of the people invited were the three players’ families with Preaskorn’s family and friends making up the rest of the entourage.
“We have been contacted by email, and we take these concerns seriously,” said Allegany County Board of Education Superintendent David Cox.
Cox said he had received emails from both sides of the issue.
“We have received emails (complaining) with one signed by five or six people,” said Cox.
“We’ve also received numerous emails in support of Preaskorn,” he added.
Preaskorn, in a letter that also appeared in the Dec. 6 Times-News in rebuttal to Bittinger’s assertions, stated he stood by his decision because of a variety of factors.
Preaskorn cited a 50-percent reduction in tickets as compared to 2006, the expense and logistical difficulties, and an exposure to behavior that he felt was not appropriate.
Assistant coaches that had “forfeited in attending in 2006” were invited, according to Preaskorn.
“We are doing an investigation,” said Cox. “That’s what’s happening right now.”
Stating that Coach Todd Appel of Fort Hill was able to take the trip by the guidelines put forth by the Ravens, Bittinger continues to question Preaskorn’s handling of the event.
“We are doing fact-finding,” said Cox.
“We are always concerned that our employees act in accordance with our rules,” said Cox.
Preaskorn was contacted by the Times-News on Wednesday but declined to comment further on the matter.
Greg Larry can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.