Parents accuse coaching staff of charging players for off-season practice and using practice field without permits
Santa Monica Malibu United School District (SMMUSD) parents whose children participate in sports at Santa Monica High School had a unique vantage point to witness the activities within different sports programs and on the athletic fields utilized by Samohi.
Parents took notice when Samohi appointed Coleen Davenport, previously employed by Beverly Hills High School (BHHS) as a trainer without prior administrative experience, as the new athletic director. Additionally, concerns arose when Carter Paysinger, a person reportedly associated with significant challenges, and also formerly employed by Beverly Hills High School, was hired as the head football coach.
Paysinger introduced an organization at Samohi called “Compete Forever,” which is described as a private football club offering training for various age groups. The club charges $15 per player per practice session.
Compete Forever, Inc. was registered as a domestic nonprofit organization on Dec. 19, 2017, with its incorporation address listed as 30 Dudley Ave. 8, Venice, CA 90291. The registered agent of the company is Legalzoom.com, Inc., and it remains an active entity under the jurisdiction of California. The organization established a Facebook page in July 2021, presenting itself as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to offering affordable training, camps, and leagues for young athletes.
Although participation in Compete Forever is not mandatory for players on the Samohi football team, parents have reported that Paysinger actively encourages them to enroll and pay for the program as off-season training from January through April. They further allege that he recently utilized his SMMUSD email contact list to recruit young athletes to join his private program for practices conducted at Samohi. It should be noted that Compete Forever is not officially integrated into the Samohi curriculum, and it is assumed that Paysinger personally benefits financially from the fees paid by students who participate in the program.
The other practice of this organization some parents call into question is that, in addition to charging fees for the private program, it is holding practices on school/city playing fields without paying and receiving unfair priority for the use of those fields over other local athletic organizations.
“We noticed this in January,” one parent stated. “While our game ran over, there was a group waiting for the field that looked oddly calm. Folks started looking into it, and it appears they’re violating the Joint Use Agreement with the City of Santa Monica by using Davenport’s position to secure field space for Compete Forever, a private football club, with no permit.”
Parents have presented documents that indicate the athletic director reserves field space under the name of Samohi Athletics, allowing them to utilize the fields without charge. However, evidence suggests that it is actually the private group Compete Forever that is using the fields instead.
“Field space is at a premium in Santa Monica, so circumventing the process with the city and not paying to use the field is not following the rules,” one parent wrote. “They’re using Davenport’s AD position to bypass the City of Santa Monica field permit process for ‘Compete Forever,’ a football fee-based program that Paysinger is affiliated with. They’re jumping the line for field space and not paying a permit fee.”
“This is almost exactly like what Paysinger got investigated for at BHHS, when he ran his own private fee-based ‘Beverly Hills Sports Academy’ for many years, which was not registered with the City of Beverly Hills for over a decade, “one person noted.
Under the Joint Use Agreement between SMMUSD and the City of Santa Monica, SMMUSD athletic facilities are transferred to the city after school hours in order for the city to issue permits for non-SMMUSD uses.
“Because field space is extremely limited and oversubscribed in Santa Monica, any group wanting to use a field must apply for a permit and be allocated space by the city,” one parent explained.
Use of the Samohi football field is tracked in an Online Facility Use Permits calendar by SMMUSD and a Reservation Master List by the city. On Jan. 10, 2023, Compete Forever showed up with a large group for a practice that wasn’t scheduled. On Jan. 11, the next day, there was also no scheduled use of the field reserved during that time slot in the SMMUSD Facility Use Permits calendar.
“Suspiciously, a few days later, the Samohi system had been updated to show a reservation for ‘Samohi Spring Training’ for every Tuesday through March 28, 2023 …Interestingly, while Samohi field space is usually reserved for the school by an office administrator, these Tuesday practices were added by AD Coleen Davenport herself.”
Compete Forever held practices on the Samohi field for ten weeks, with the exception of two rain cancellations. Compete Forever advertised each of the practices on Instagram for the same times reserved by Davenport for Samohi football.
Based on the Reservation Master Report from the city, it is evident that Compete Forever does not possess a permit to utilize the Samohi field. In contrast, the city’s records exclusively list Samohi Athletics, with Davenport listed as the contact, for the dates and times when Compete Forever conducted its practices at Samohi.
Compete Forever does, however, have a permit to use the Lincoln Middle School field from time to time, so the school officials are aware of the permit process. In the Lincoln permit, Compete Forever describes itself as a “resident” group, which gives them priority over non-resident groups and a lower permit fee.
The verification of resident status remains uncertain at this time. Among the youth sports groups, apart from Compete Forever, only AYSO, Pacific Coast Soccer Club, and Autobahn Soccer Club have asserted their resident status. Notably, prominent youth sports organizations like Santa Monica Surf, FC England, Santa Monica Pony League, Fundamental Youth Sports, and Santa Monica Rugby Club have not made any claims regarding their resident status.
Note: Part I of a two-part series. The events described in this story unfold in Santa Monica, specifically within the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD). It is important to note that all the information presented in this article is supported by documented evidence. Part II, scheduled for release next week, delves into the documention of nepotism in hiring practices at Samohi and the district’s failure to conduct thorough background checks on certain key personnel. The Malibu Times has contacted both SMMUSD and Compete Forever for comment and currently awaiting their response. Concerned parents who have brought forth this story have requested anonymity, fearing potential reprisals from the school district.