Former Syracuse University All-American Tim Green faces recruiting violation allegations

Former Syracuse University All-American Tim Green, who played in the NFL for eight seasons, faces allegations that he violated recruiting rules as head football coach at an upstate New York high school.

The Skaneateles school district, near Syracuse in the central part of the state, started an investigation in the spring into allegations that Green and his assistant coaches tried to recruit players from other teams, and that players who switched did not live in the district.

Findings of the investigation are expected to be sent this week to Section III of the state high school athletic association. John Rathbun, executive director of Section III, declined comment on Tuesday.

New York state athletic association rules prohibit anyone connected with a school from recruiting a student to transfer for the purpose of participating in sports. Potential penalties range from forfeiture of victories to future sanctions, including removing a school from competition for a year.

Nina Van Erk, executive director of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association, said she knew of no school ever being charged with recruiting violations.

Green, a defensive tackle picked in the first round in 1986 by the Atlanta Falcons, said Tuesday that the school's lawyer had told him the report "in no way accuses me of any violations" and he said the program would be exonerated.

"It's unfortunate, but that's life," Green said of the investigation. "Sometimes, things like this happen, but I have not let it take any enjoyment out of this. I've been determined and grateful for the players and coaches I have."

Green began his high school coaching career in the summer of 2010 with the Tim Green Skaneateles Football Camp, which promised players time with the former NFL defensive end and five other ex-pro football players. Among them were: recently retired Indianapolis Colts tailback Mike Hart, Michigan's all-time leading rusher who also set a national scoring record at Onondaga Central High School in suburban Syracuse; former Syracuse star Rob Moore; and current Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone.

The camp attracted 270 high school players from across central New York and came five months after a divided Skaneateles school board hired Green to coach a team that struggled to 1-7 records the previous two seasons.

Green said he and his coaches never tried to recruit another player, including those who attended his camp. No Section III coach has publicly alleged that a player on the current Skaneateles roster was recruited.

Last spring, three of the top players on the team moved into apartments in this affluent Finger Lakes village about 20 miles southwest of Syracuse. The district looked into the residency of all three: Koree Reed, a co-captain and wide receiver and defensive back; Malik Merritt, a running back and defensive back; and Khiary Gayle, a wide receiver and defensive back.

Reed played for nearby Baldwinsville two years ago, moved to Virginia in 2010 and moved to Skaneateles this spring. To prove residency, students must provide evidence they are living with a parent or guardian in the school district.

Green, who also is a lawyer, said he had nothing to do with putting the players in those apartments. He said it's entirely up to the school to determine whether the players and their families meet residency requirements.

Now in his second season, Green has transformed a loser into a contender for a state championship. Despite the distraction of the investigation, Skaneateles is 8-0 and ranked third in the state, led by its star quarterback, Green's son Troy.