Supporters of an embattled MCC basketball coach are rallying so that he can keep his job, not because of wins and losses, but because of athletic department procedures the college said have led to violations it self-reported to the National Junior College Athletic Association.
The NJCAA named Tim Parrinello its coach of the year for 2017-2018.
MCC announced it suspended Parrinello without pay in September after its new athletic director filed an internal audit with the NJCAA that found violations related to letters of intent and financial aid awarded to MCC student athletes last academic year. MCC reported those violations with recommended self-imposed sanctions.
One of the responses by Athletic Director Aaron Bouyea was to suspend Parrinello for his performance as associate athletic director. Another could be Parrinello's dismissal.
The NJCAA has not punished MCC for its audit's findings.
MCC says Parrinello's suspension is following negotiated terms of the Faculty Association labor contract and will not comment on personnel matters. Hearings that began last week continue this week into the matter, and could lead to Parrinello's dismissal. Parrinello is asking for an opportunity to address the violations cited in the report. Those familiar with the situation say he has not had that opportunity.
Parrinello did not immediately return a request for comment on the audit or his suspension.
Retired MCC athletic director Skip Bailey called Parrinello's suspension unfair.
Bailey has seen the internal audit of the college's athletic programs and said the violations reported were not punished by the NJCAA. Bailey said the financial aid in question came down to the women's basketball team’s use of funding for scholarships, as compared to the same stream of funding for the men's team being utilized for travel. The use of the funding gives the appearance Parrinello was directing more scholarship funding for his basketball program, compared to the men's team.
"He belongs back in his position," Bailey said. "He's never wanted to go anywhere else. He should be able and be allowed to coach in that position and there should be nobody at that college who can take it away from him."
Bailey — who has been subpoenaed for the hearings on the audit — believes if anyone is to blame, it is him.
MCC's women's basketball team signed a petition calling on the college to reinstate Parrinello. His teams have won five junior college titles and more than 600 games.