The attorneys for Villa Angela-St. Joseph football coach Jeff Rotsky claim antisemitism played a role in his suspension by the Ohio High School Athletic Association.

Rotsky was originally suspended for the first three playoff games by the OHSAA Oct. 21 due to “impermissible contact” with a student-athlete or athletes from another school, according to the lawsuit filed by his attorneys, Ian Friedman, Eric Long and Tyler Walchanowicz from Friedman & Nemecek, L.L.C.

Rotsky received a temporary injunction Oct. 28 allowing him to coach in the first three playoff games should the Vikings keep winning. They defeated Hawken School from Chester Township Oct. 29 in a Division IV, Region 13 contest, 44-21, and will face Glenville High School from Cleveland at 7 p.m. Nov. 5 at Baldwin Wallace University’s George Finnie Stadium in Berea.

According to the lawsuit, Rotsky’s attorneys claim a photo taken of the former Euclid High School football coach speaking with a player from another school at a basketball league game played a role in his suspension. Thee attorneys allege the person who took the photo had antisemetic motives.

According to the lawsuit obtained by the Cleveland Jewish News, the person who took the photo was a former basketball coach at VASJ. The coach, who was unnamed, has previously sent messages expressing his dislike for Rotsky as well as explicitly antisemitic statements toward him, according to the lawsuit.

The coach allegedly texted somebody, “So we are selling out for money to a Jew,” according to the lawsuit.

He also discussed his antisemitic sentiment over the telephone on another occasion stating, “It’s embarrassing a Marianist school would hire someone who does not believe in the New Testament,” the lawsuit claims.

Rotsky’s attorneys declined to disclose to the CJN who those conversations were with and when they were made.

The OHSAA stated Rotsky violated Bylaw 4-9-4 #3 when he had “impermissible contact” with student-athletes and their families at a Northeast Ohio basketball league in December 2020. At that time, Rotsky was transitioning to VASJ after six years at Euclid.

Chuck Kortovich, one of the basketball league’s coaches, encouraged the student-athletes and their families to introduce themselves to Rotsky and listen to him speak, according to the court documents.

The court documents claim Rotsky spoke about life experiences and how “there are more important things in life than sports” and never spoke about VASJ athletic programs, enrollment or attendance, or otherwise enticed the student-athletes and/or their families to enroll at VASJ.

Judge Deborah Turner will hold a full hearing at 2 p.m. Nov. 8 in the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court when there will be a decision on the full action of the injunction.

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