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Ex-principal says school changed football star's grades

Bellport High School on Beaver Dam Road. (Dec.

Bellport High School on Beaver Dam Road. (Dec. 5, 2011) Photo Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

The superintendent of South Country Central School district ordered an inquiry into his high school's grading practices after an allegation from a fired principal that a football star's grades were changed so he would qualify for an athletic scholarship to Syracuse University.

Kevin O'Connell, former principal at Bellport High School,
Photo Credit: 2011 Bellport High School yearbook

Kevin O'Connell, former principal at Bellport High School, said he was forced out this year after refusing to pressure a teacher to boost football star Ryan Sloan's grades.

Ex-principal Kevin O'Connell said district superintendent Joe Cipp
Photo Credit: David L. Pokress. 2006

Ex-principal Kevin O'Connell said district superintendent Joe Cipp Jr. (pictured above), who was the school's football coach for 32 years until retiring from that position in 2011, and other top officials pushed subordinates to raise Sloan's math scores so he would qualify for an athletic scholarship to Syracuse University. School officials said the accusations were baseless.

Ryan Sloan graduated from Bellport High School in
Photo Credit: George A. Faella, 2010

Ryan Sloan graduated from Bellport High School in June and is a freshman at Syracuse University. In a statement released through Syracuse's athletic department, Sloan said, "I worked hard to get to where I am today. I don't know anything about this situation."

Bellport High School on Beaver Dam Road. (Dec.
Photo Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Bellport High School on Beaver Dam Road. (Dec. 5, 2011)

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