Youth Football Embezzlement: Parents Wake Up

by Robert a. Williams

Nothing’s worse than a parent who learns their son’s football organization embezzled funds. The stench is horrific when adults purposely misappropriate funds for personal motives.  But this shady act happens more than we’d like to believe in youth football. A Google search will reveal a rash of youth football league’s funds pillaged by appointed representatives.  From league presidents to board appointed treasurers, embezzling funds almost seems vogue.  Often, and sadly however, culprits had stolen funds for a period of time before being apprehended.  Youth football is big business generating enormous amounts of funds topping in the millions.  Thus, it is time to reign in these private organizations and protect children and parents from misguided league officials.

“Some parents can’t believe the board isn’t pressing charges against the person accused of embezzling approximately $24,140.00 earlier this year.”

Hundreds of youth football leagues are preparing for the upcoming 2014 season.  Parents will invest valuable time, resources, and fees so their sons can participate in an American pastime.  Registration fees and traveling expenditures for all-star teams can increase out-of-pocket expenses for these families.  There is vast amounts of cash moving to and fro in youth football programs.  Thus, board of directors are responsible to assure proper appropriation of these funds.  However, something’s amiss among some football leagues’ accountability apparatus. In other words, adults are cheating and using monies for their personal use.  Consequently, youth football leagues and major stakeholders are witnessing a rash of embezzlement arrests and convictions.  Parents these are not isolated cases.

In several cases of blatant embezzlement, the culprit stole funds over a period of time before being discovered.  One former treasurer embezzled more than $100,000 from her youth football and cheer program during her 2013.  In another case, “a former board member offered no explanation for why she stole $17,621.62 from a youth football sports league.  As a result,  they had to eliminate scholarships for low-income kids because of the financial hit.”

“When the cheerleaders were on stage last year, police say Abercrombie was well on her way to stealing more than $20,000.”

What can parents and stakeholders do to protect our children’s money?  A certain immediate action is to require private football youth organizations utilizing public space accept 3rd party financial oversight.  If these football organizations are required to receive 3rd party certification (e.g., USA Football) to keep children safe when tackling (i.e., Heads Up).  Thus my proposal is not a stretch to require oversight for their financial safety.  Community members must protect children from adults that prey upon them.

Robert Williams is the executive director of, a social advocate organization.

Doctoral Journey: My Big Question?

Inblac boy 1980, I walked on to play football at Eastern Illinois University (EIU).  I was the first in my family’s history to attend higher education. However, I hated my experiences at Eastern and developed a stinging anger about postsecondary institutions.  I was overwhelmed, I lacked so much and quickly suffered psychologically, socially, and academically.   When I prepared to leave Eastern in 1984, I felt like an academic holocaust victim and carried scars for the next 25 years.

In essence, I learned nothing, absolutely nothing.  I learned nothing about life, academics, social skills, nothing.  It was not just  EIU but various factors (i.e., poverty, malcontent) contributed to my nasty adventure.  Because it was all about football, the learning environment for me appeared as some sort of movie set.  In it I was the comedian’ set up man.  Seriously, I lacked everything you could imagine to navigate a predominantly all-white institution.  I was a clown crying days and nights. And another thing, it wasn’t my side of town for a circus.

In 2009, I returned to a predominantly all-white postsecondary institution again.  Losing the comic setup guy’s role, I wanted to get the college thing right this time. I began this new journey because of my self-beliefs.  You see back at Eastern my confidence (i.e., academics) was shot to hell.  I had no sincere beliefs I could learn, none.  Add to that, I lacked any sociocultural connections with family members or peers who attended higher education.  Thus, I was alone, silent on an island, crying like hell.

Although my mother’s verbal persuasion did its best, I needed ‘most knowledgeable others’ in so many areas (e.g., academically, socially, and emotionally).  But no one came, so, I cried myself to sleep for four years at EIU.  Northern Illinois University (NIU) racial landscape is similar to Eastern 30 years ago.  There are mostly white students accompanied by mostly white faculty and staff.  Conversely, it can also be hostile at times for non-white students and faculty.  I however am not a teenager as in 1980; consequently, I possess the confidence and abilities to achieve a specific task (e.g., my dissertation).

Northern Illinois University

downloadI have met tremendous professors and students while at NIU.  Caucasians, African-Americans, Native Americans, Chicano Americans, Asian, and Eastern Europeans.  The dam list can go on forever.  But, the most delightful part was these individuals dispensed their knowledge for the sake of my learning and development.  This NIU journey filled with numerous sociocultural tenets convinced me I was not alone, not this time.  Also, I learned more importantly without outsiders’ support you’re doomed or as Mick would say, ‘You’re F^%$ked’.

I’ve had great relationships with many individuals, but also some poor ones as well.  I want to say this before I forget, one problem that sticks with me is deciding my doctoral topic.  I have changed it several times for numerous reasons. Yet, after speaking with Mick and Sue yesterday, I’m convinced that I’ve made the wrong decision in not studying my passion (e.g., football and academic literacy).  These two women illustrated as many have in the past, the doc journey must be about passion.

Put another way, it must be like something stuck in the crack of your behind you can’t reach.  I mean its eating at you this f*&king problem….you just gotta dig up in your crack regardless of who’s looking.  I HAVE TO GET THIS OUT!!!  Yet, I’m delaying digging in my crack because I’ve made decisions based on outside influences.  Thus, the itch isn’t real because I’m faking perhaps.   I feel like I’m at Eastern Illinois again in the 80’s lacking the self-determination to follow my passion (e.g., student-athletes and literacy).

My ideal doctoral topic?: I believe you know by now (Student-athletes’ literacy development) at the secondary and postsecondary level.  I have a special place for this population, oh by the way, I can read and write for hours on this content.  I’ve yet to come across an article that made me dazed or confused.  Really, I can read about it in my sleep, while jogging, and inside the grip of a Great White Shark. Well, maybe a little over the top with the comment.

Working with other athletic social advocates we can begin to help students-athletes put academics first and sports second.  This can occur, because as we know the argument is becoming public (i.e., Northwestern).  The status quo for student-athletes is changing, I have a chance to present scholarship that hopefully would advance the movement.

My Big Question:  Why Fake A Doctoral Passion?

Boy 1






The Ghetto Worst (2) Tilden H.S. Blue Devils

Tilden High School flickr Zol87

Chicago Tilden High School

I cannot forget entering Dunbar High School in 1976 from the ‘low end’ (i.e. Englewood). I was now attending a school with students who grew up in communities like my uncle and aunt, the nice hoods (i.e., Chatham, Morgan Park, and Kenwood). Yet, I was still dirt poor, one pair of shoes, struggling to keep my slacks up, and wondering what the fuck. I could see a difference in the students; I knew who was poor and who was well off. Growing up in poverty, you possess a keen sense for details, hell your life depended on it. Dunbar Vocational High School was a flagship institution, unlike my community high schools’ Tilden and Englewood for which I refused to enroll in either.

The ‘Bar’ was uppity’.  It was surrounded by condominiums, close to the lake, and minutes from ‘The Loop’. There was plenty of  intra-racial discrimination and prejudices going on at the ‘Bar’. If you were a student not from one of the nice neighborhoods, it was tough.  Presently, ‘Bar’ alums get together pretending these cultural and sociological differences did not exist. Bullshit. Students from the projects and communities like Englewood were treated different. Some of us were poor and from the other side of the tracks. We felt the class divide as other impoverished Blacks had throughout history in America.  Maybe I should have stayed home at Tilden or Englewood.


The High School Riot

My wife Debra is a graduate of Tilden (79) and many ghetto mites from “The Dodge” attended school there. Tilden located 4747 South Union in Bridgeport was the local pub for dropouts, malcontents, and reprobates. It was surrounded by poor Irish trash and dirty cops all too willing to play the contest, “Catch a Nigger Alone Tonight”. From my knowledge, one did not want to hang around Tilden after dark.  Not surprisingly, It was the home of the Daly’s (Mayors of Corrupt Chicago), racists cops, and Irish lads doling out Mick justice on Black students and citizens.  Whites and Blacks did not get alone and violence was a norm.Chicago police photo

Consequently, the violence at Tilden often spilled into the streets.  It was not uncommon to hear on our intercom at John Hope that Tilden was participating in their annual fucking school riot. Even today, I can recall the intercom warning us that Tilden students were marching South on Union street, destination John Hope Middle School.  It was madness, large numbers of Tilden students, Blue and Whites swirling around 55th & Garfield Boulevard, D.T’s in unmarked cars, putting hands on cats not moving fast enough.

This was the 70’s and police brutality was the norm in Black communities, there was no Twitter or cell phones to capture the mayhem.  Somewhat scared and perturbed at the same time, I wondered, what the fuck are the Tilden students mad at our middle school for? What the hell was the problem? More importantly, did our neighbors want to kick our youthful asses? I hated Tilden before then, but now I disliked it even more.  Which is why I was all too willing to rib my friends who attended it.


Till this day, I can recall looking out the window of House 4B at John Hope as police cars and bodies pushed the angry mob on its way. Why the fuck did they come up to John Hope? If a former rioter could contact me and explain the reasoning, I’d appreciate it. Conversely, I hated what I witnessed, mean faces, brutal cops, and frozen school officials. The whole fucking Garfield Boulevard was ablaze with tight-ass slacks, fucked up Afros, and worn out platform shoes. In essence, Black folks just stomping their feet, mad as Hell.  I just don’t know nor understand their reasons.

Presently, I’m still in the dark about this mass aggression, but this form of violence became the norm, sadly. This was one of my neighborhood schools, where nearly most of my rat pack attended, mostly for recreation. Consequently, I never wanted to attend Tilden. I was a Dodge City Ghetto mite, but I wanted to attend the ‘Bar’ because my older brother did. But, boy athletic wise, I wished often I played football at Tilden. I know, my Mighty Men/Women just booted me out the club, but it’s true. I regret not playing with my neighborhood cats on the gridiron. Plus, they won it all in 1979-80. I love my ‘Bar'; Mighty Man through and through.


Tilden Tough

I speculate, John Hope Middle School turned out some of the best talent in athletics. The school encapsulated individuals from the surrounding neighborhoods that could flat-out play football, basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, swim, and track. Although, the big schools like the “Bar” CVS or Simeon had nice neighborhoods surrounding their landscapes. Tilden on the other hand, had Bridgeport Irish cats waiting to push an unsuspecting nigger’s cap back after dark. It was no secret, if you couldn’t get in the good schools (e.g., Dunbar, Lindblom, Whitney Young) your shit was stuck at Englewood or Tilden. I never wanted either; so, I went to the ‘Bar’, poor as hell and academically fragile.

The “Bar” was a mixture of uppity ass students and low-end Ghettomites from the South side. Even today, I know uppity ‘Bar’ graduates, well not that uppity, but some still believe someone should be grateful to pull their chair out for them. Tilden on the other hand was bare knuckle Negroes who I played sport with growing up, Tilden had tough individuals from tough surrounding neighborhoods.  Thus it should be no surprise that they field two of the best athletic programs in Illinois at that time.   Male wrestling and football at Tilden was unprecedented, no one could fuck with them on the field or the square.   The Blue Devils stood above all Chicago High Schools and the State of Illinois for that matter in the late 70-80’s.  Fear was there calling card, pain a ready prescription.  Their two teams were made up from the best Englewood and the surrounding Ghettos had to offer…

(Part 2 to be con’t)

On the field or the mat, the “Blue Devils” were fierce and unapologetic competitors. Hmm, let me put it another way, they kicked plenty ass, each team built by two of the best High School coaches CPS produced…In fact, these two teams remain in my opinion one of the best in their era, hands down…from Marcus Bell, Nate “Slick” Cole, and Jamie “Fatdaddy” Barton…to wrestlers Doyle Harris and Tommy Howard. The Blue Devils strangled the life out of all who dare enter the arena…

Tilden Wrestling vs Chicago Public School System (1974-79)

Tilden Football vs South Shore and Julian High School (1979-80)

Coming soon

Hello crack, goodbye innocence