Recipe for a winning high school football team: Cheating

Is it time to dial back the high school sports worship a bit?

East Ridge High School, the sprawling campus that caters to Woodbury’s higher-end neighborhoods, may be caught in a cheating scandal in its football program, according to the Star Tribune.

Mike Pendino, who has been a football coach for five years at the high school, quit yesterday morning.

Last month, the school forfeited all of its victories for the last two seasons, including conference and section football titles.

The school has apparently been using ringers — ineligible players — to be competitive.

In Pendino’s resignation letter, quoted by the Strib, he denied any knowledge of the fraud.

“[A]t no time was I aware of the purported fact of any East Ridge football player residing out of the boundaries of our school district, and at no time was I aware that any coach on my staff had any knowledge of this event. My understanding of the policy in place in the South Washington School District is such that the determination of any student’s place of residence is not a responsibility of a teacher or coach, but of the district administration. Would I have had knowledge of any such impropriety, I would have reported any inconsistency to my school athletic director or principal.

“With the continuing scrutiny placed on the football program at ERHS, I feel it would be best for the student athletes involved that their efforts and actions would be placed at the forefront, and it is for this reason that I resign my position so that their interests would regain the rightful place they deserve. They are a class act of hard-working young men and I wish them all of the best.”

“There are a couple of big-time recruits that probably shouldn’t have been there,” Jo Jo Garcia, a player who was ruled ineligible, told the Star Tribune.

If he knew it, why didn’t anyone else in the “I see nothing” system?

So far the school’s principal — he’s charged with felony counts for swindle — athletic director and now football coach have resigned.

Woodbury must be so proud.