School board votes to terminate Maine West coach amid hazing allegations
A suburban high school soccer coach still has the support of his former players and students.
That’s after the Board of Education for Maine Township High School District 207 unanimously voted Wednesday night to fire him.
Michael Divincenzo is one of two coaches named in a recent hazing lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges that Divincenzo, other coaches and school staff were aware of a hazing ritual on the Maine West varsity soccer team that led to the sexual assault of four boys.
A number of former players and students from Maine West High School wrote on a Facebook page created in support of Divincenzo, saying the coach is being made a scapegoat.
Tony Romanucci, the lawyer for the alleged victims, said he wouldn’t be surprised if others are let go.
"I'm going to give the school board the benefit of the doubt that they're not finished with their investigation yet and that Coach Divincenzo was the first to fall," Romanucci said.
In a written statement, school board president Sean Sullivan said the termination vote does not mean the board agrees with the allegations in the lawsuit.
Divincenzo, who is also a tenured gym teahcer, has 17 days to appeal the board’s decision with the Illinois State Board of Education.
Since the allegations surfaced, Maine West has taken several steps to prevent hazing, including having all althletes sign an anti-hazing pledge.