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Perkins suspends coach for drug violation

Tom Jackson • Oct 5, 2012 at 3:32 AM

Travis Crabtree has been suspended for part of the season, after offering one of his wrestlers a prescription painkiller at a wrestling camp this past summer at Penn State University, school officials said.

While school officials said they could not ignore the coach’s actions, they also said incident was uncharacteristic of Crabtree.

He has earned an excellent reputation while serving for years as the school’s wresting coach, and as a physical education and health teacher at Perkins High, district officials said.  

Crabtree did not return a phone message seeking comment.

According to a letter of reprimand athletic director Michael Strohl placed in Crabtree’s file, one of the school’s wrestlers complained about being in pain because of a previous injury.

Crabtree responded by offering a prescription painkiller, which the student accepted but ultimately did not consume, the letter states.

The student’s parent and Crabtree both reported the incident.

Strohl commended Crabtree for being honest, but he also wrote that he could not ignore the incident. Strohl suspended him for three points, which is about 15 percent of the season, or apparently three matches.

Crabtree will not be permitted to attend the matches.

Any future incident compromising a student athlete’s safety will be handled by additional discipline, up to and including being fired as coach, Strohl wrote.

“This recent incident is uncharacteristic of Coach Crabtree,” Strohl added. “I believe Coach Crabtree cares for his athletes and holds his position as head wrestling coach in high regard.”

Strohl made the decision to discipline the coach, and he did not take the matter to the superintendent or the board, superintendent Jim Gunner said.

“The athletic director makes that decision,” Gunner said. “He is the primary person responsible for supervising coaches.”

Gunner said Crabtree has the right to appeal the decision to the superintendent, although he has not yet heard from the coach.

“My information is he’s accepted the consequences and will not appeal,” Gunner said.

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