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Article updated: 10/9/2012 1:50 PM

Maine West soccer players barred from team

By Madhu Krishnamurthy

Several Maine West High School boys soccer players have been barred from playing and could face disciplinary action, while five coaches have been temporarily reassigned after allegations of misconduct, Maine Township High School District 207 spokesman Dave Beery confirmed Saturday.

The Maine West Warriors boys soccer team, which won the 2011 conference, is scheduled to play St. Patrick Wednesday, Oct. 10, the last game of the regular season.

Beery would not give details about the nature of the inappropriate conduct but said a parent reported it to school officials on Sept. 28. Beery did not confirm media reports that the allegations stemmed from a hazing incident on school grounds.

"We have not characterized it as hazing," he said.

District officials immediately launched an investigation and soon after notified Des Plaines Police and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, Beery said. District 207 is cooperating fully with both agencies who are conducting their own independent investigations, he added.

"They (the players) are facing disciplinary action and they are not being permitted to play pending the outcome of the investigation," Beery said.

Among the coaches reassigned with pay are Mike Divincenzo, varsity head coach for boys and girls soccer, and Emilio Rodriguez, freshman boys and girls soccer coach, who have been removed from classroom teaching also pending the outcome of the investigations, Beery said.

The three other coaches who have been temporarily reassigned are not classroom teachers, Beery said.

According to the Maine West website, Divincenzo has been teaching at the school for more than 10 years. He is a 1994 graduate of Maine West High School where he played soccer and baseball. He teaches physical education classes at the school.

Student and personnel confidentiality principles prohibit District 207 from providing further details of the reports or the investigation, according to a statement released by the district.

"We have clear expectations for the conduct of our athletes and coaches, and if there are allegations of misconduct we have a duty to take them seriously, to conduct an objective investigation of the facts, and to respond accordingly," Superintendent Ken Wallace said in the release. "The safety and well-being of our District 207 students is always our highest priority."

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