Delsea coach accused of misconduct

Sal Marchese is on paid leave while the case is investigated.
Sal Marchese is on paid leave while the case is investigated.
Posted: January 26, 2014

Delsea's Sal Marchese, one of South Jersey's most successful football coaches, has been placed on administrative leave pending a Board of Education investigation into possible academic misconduct, a source close to the situation told The Inquirer on Friday.

Marchese has been Delsea's coach for 21 seasons. He was named the Brooks Irvine Memorial Football Club's Coach of the Year after last season, when Delsea won its second consecutive South Jersey Group 3 championship.

The administrative leave, a suspension with pay, stems from accusations of irregularities in testing in a health and physical education class in November, the source said.

The Sentinel of Gloucester County, a weekly newspaper based in Malaga, reported this week that Delsea Board of Education president Mario Christina made a motion during the public session of a special meeting Jan. 18 to continue Marchese's administrative leave to allow for further investigation.

The board approved Christina's motion, the paper reported.

Christina was not available for comment Friday.

The situation, the source said, involves allegations that a football player took a test in a health and physical education class for another football player in November.

The source said there also was an effort to "cover up" the misconduct.

Delsea's superintendent, Piera Gravenor, said Friday that she could not comment on the matter because it is a personnel issue.

Marchese and Delsea athletic director Steve Iles also were not available for comment.

It's not clear if Delsea's 2013 South Jersey Group 3 title would be in jeopardy if it was determined that an academically ineligible player participated in the state tournament.

NJSIAA assistant director Larry White, who oversaw the South Jersey football tournament, said the NJSIAA's academic eligibility standards are tied to credits.

White said if a student athlete has earned 30 credits in the previous school year, he or she is eligible for fall and winter sports.

Under that criteria, academic misconduct in November would not impact an athlete's eligibility to participate in the state football tournament under NJSIAA rules.

"If this was a credit situation, then it would fall in our lap and we would investigate," White said. "If it's a [grade-point average] situation, that's something for a district to look at internally."

Marchese has a 167-51-1 record. His teams have won six South Jersey championships, including four in the last six seasons (2008, 2009, 2012, and 2013).

Delsea was 10-2 last season and beat Barnegat, 31-7, in the sectional Group 3 final.


panastasia@phillynews.com

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