Bettendorf’s head football coach responds to claims of improper recruiting first revealed by a Local 4 News investigation.
It was through an email obtained by Local 4 News in a public information request Aaron Wiley sent to high school football coaching staff.
It was sent the weekend after Local 4 News first aired its report about Moline filing a complaint with the Iowa High School Athletic Association in June.
In the complaint, it alleges that Bettendorf football staff used undue influence to recruit Moline football players for the Bulldogs.
The IHSAA sent on the allegation to Bettendorf, as is policy, and the school completed their own investigation.
In the email from August 3, 2019, Bettendorf Head Football Coach Aaron Wiley said this started in February when a Moline football player’s father reached out to him about having his son play for Bettendorf.
At the same time, Moline’s head football coach was resigning for another job but decided to stay with Moline a few weeks later.
Wiley wrote in the email, he told the family they would need to move and make it legitimate.
Several weeks later the student and family committed to moving to Bettendorf.
That was followed by Bettendorf coach and Moline teacher Dan Byrne’s texting him about aggregating a visit to Bettendorf High School for the family.
That leads up to one of the most shocking allegations in the Moline complaint, which is former Bettendorf coach Kevin Freking asked girls to flirt with the student-athlete on the visit.
Wiley said that’s completely untrue, writing Freking asked some of the Bettendorf students to introduce themselves.
Wiley said a girl replied to Freking “I’ll talk to him, I like flirting,” and adding others in the room said it was meant as a joke.
Wiley later wrote in the email, the rumor about girls being directed to flirt was started by the girl’s boyfriend.
Wiley and Freking met with the Bettendorf High School principal about the flirting complaint in June.
Wiley then wrote in the email, Freking decided to resign on his own and not asked to leave nor fired. But part of that interaction Wiley details are redacted in the FOIA document Local 4 News requested.
In an unredacted copy obtained by Local 4 News, Wiley wrote Freking was going to be suspended while the school investigated and at that time decided to resign.
“Eventually, Joy Kelly called Kevin & I in & told us about the flirting part of the complaint. Kevin said it was ridiculous & that he didn’t tell anyone to flirt. Joy wasn’t satisfied with this & said she was going to suspend Kevin while she investigated. At that point Kevin had enough & decided to resign. It feel that it is important for everyone to know that Kevin was not fired or asked to resign but decided to resign on his own. “Local 4 News is not publishing the entire unredacted version of the email obtained because it includes the name of minors or information that could identify minors.
Wiley ended the email by saying “Moline filed a complaint that is filled with misquotes, half-truths, second-hand rumors from high school students and blatant lies.”
In an earlier statement provided to Local 4 News by Bettendorf Schools, the district said after their own investigation they took the appropriate actions and IHSAA didn’t impose any sanctions on the school.